Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


Nanoscale Engineering

Content Description

1 online resource (xv, 169 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Nathaniel C Cady

Committee Members

Magnus Bergkvist, Rebecca Cortez, Kathleen A Dunn, John Hartley


Hafnium Oxide, Hydrogen Silsesquioxane, Nanoparticles, Resistive Memory, Silicon Oxide, Titanium Oxide, Nonvolatile random-access memory, Dielectric films, Metallic oxides

Subject Categories

Chemistry | Engineering | Materials Science and Engineering


Resistive random access memory (ReRAM) is a potential replacement technology for Flash and other memory implementations. Advantages of ReRAM include increased scalability, low power operation, and compatibility with silicon semiconductor manufacturing. Most of the ReRAM devices described to date have utilized thin film based metal oxide dielectrics as a resistive switching matrix. The goal of this dissertation project has been to investigate the resistive switching behavior of nanoparticulate metal oxides and to develop methods to utilize these materials in ReRAM device fabrication. To this end, nanoparticles of TiO2 and HfO2 were synthesized under a variety of conditions resulting in various size, shape, and crystallinity. Electrical measurements of individual nanoparticles, as well as composite films of nanoparticles, were performed with limited success. To improve the stability of nanoparticle films, a spin on glass, hydrogen silsesquioxane (HSQ), was incorporated into the film stack. Addition of HSQ prevented electrical shorting and stabilized the nanoparticle films. In addition to serving as a stabilizer for nanoparticle films, HSQ was also found to have its own resistive switching properties. Composite films consisting of HSQ and nanoparticles yielded modified switching behavior which was tunable based upon nanoparticle composition and the thickness of the nanoparticle film. Our results demonstrate that both VSET and VRESET of HSQ switching can be increased when nanoparticles are incorporated with HSQ, without any significant changes to the device's high and low resistance states. We conclude that metal oxide nanoparticles can function as the dielectric material for ReRAM and can also be used to modulate the switching properties of composite ReRAM devices.