Observation of single-defect memristor in an MoS2 atomic sheet

Saban M. Hus, Ruijing Ge, Po An Chen, Liangbo Liang, Gavin E. Donnelly, Wonhee Ko, Fumin Huang, Meng Hsueh Chiang, An Ping Li, Deji Akinwande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Non-volatile resistive switching, also known as memristor1 effect, where an electric field switches the resistance states of a two-terminal device, has emerged as an important concept in the development of high-density information storage, computing and reconfigurable systems2–9. The past decade has witnessed substantial advances in non-volatile resistive switching materials such as metal oxides and solid electrolytes. It was long believed that leakage currents would prevent the observation of this phenomenon for nanometre-thin insulating layers. However, the recent discovery of non-volatile resistive switching in two-dimensional monolayers of transition metal dichalcogenide10,11 and hexagonal boron nitride12 sandwich structures (also known as atomristors) has refuted this belief and added a new materials dimension owing to the benefits of size scaling10,13. Here we elucidate the origin of the switching mechanism in atomic sheets using monolayer MoS2 as a model system. Atomistic imaging and spectroscopy reveal that metal substitution into a sulfur vacancy results in a non-volatile change in the resistance, which is corroborated by computational studies of defect structures and electronic states. These findings provide an atomistic understanding of non-volatile switching and open a new direction in precision defect engineering, down to a single defect, towards achieving the smallest memristor for applications in ultra-dense memory, neuromorphic computing and radio-frequency communication systems2,3,11.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-62
Number of pages5
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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