Advanced Materials

From Ferroelectric Material Optimization to Neuromorphic Devices

View publication


Due to the voltage driven switching at low voltages combined with nonvolatility of the achieved polarization state, ferroelectric materials have a unique potential for low power nonvolatile electronic devices. The competitivity of such devices is hindered by compatibility issues of well-known ferroelectrics with established semiconductor technology. The discovery of ferroelectricity in hafnium oxide changed this situation. The natural application of nonvolatile devices is as a memory cell. Nonvolatile memory devices also built the basis for other applications like in-memory or neuromorphic computing. Three different basic ferroelectric devices can be constructed: ferroelectric capacitors, ferroelectric field effect transistors and ferroelectric tunneling junctions. In this article first the material science of the ferroelectricity in hafnium oxide will be summarized with a special focus on tailoring the switching characteristics towards different applications.The current status of nonvolatile ferroelectric memories then lays the ground for looking into applications like in-memory computing. Finally, a special focus will be given to showcase how the basic building blocks of spiking neural networks, the neuron and the synapse, can be realized and how they can be combined to realize neuromorphic computing systems. A summary, comparison with other technologies like resistive switching devices and an outlook completes the paper.