We find that Ru device A can be switched a limited number of times at high compliance currents Icc (~0.5mA) while the device B at such Icc levels shows either volatile filament formation or when a filament forms, it is permanent. Conversely, at Icc of ~5uA Ru device B shows fairly good RS behavior, while Ru device A shows mostly volatile behavior. Besides Icc, the other critical parameter is the ramp rate rr during the voltage sweep. Both parameters determine effectively the thermal budget during the set and reset operations and are thus responsible for: 1) chemical reactions taking place between the thin metal and dielectric layers and formation of chemical compounds. 2) Cu surface diffusion on the Ru electrode and Cu penetration through the Ru electrode which appears to include compound formation of Ru2Si3 and Cu3Si in case of Ru device A. Therefore, the declared purpose of inserting the TaOx layer between SiO2 and Ti was to prevent those silicidation reactions. In this work, we show that reports in the literature on a number of Ru metallization issues such as: a) thin Ru amorphous films crystallize into a polycrystalline phase at ~550oC; b) observation of a strong diffusive penetration of Cu through the increased number of grain boundaries within Ru layer at 475oC; c) Ru transforms into a less dense Ru2Si3 at ~500oC; d) Ru2Si3 triggers Cu3Si formation at low temperature (~200oC) and degrades the barrier functionality of Ru electrode, are indeed correlated with the differences between the device I-V characteristics of the two Ru devices.
Because of the chemical reactions triggered by high local temperatures during cell switching, the Ru devices show new properties over the stable Pt devices. In contrast to Pt devices, the voltage ramp rate has a major impact on the resistance of the on-state, Ron, in the Ru devices: lower ramp rate leads to a higher Ron values because the forming filament is exposed for a longer time to elevated temperatures and suffers from Cu out-diffusion. The observation that Ron in Ru device A is significantly higher than in the Ru device B at the same Icc and rr values, demonstrates that Ru electrode in Ru device B has better inertness properties than in the Ru device A. In summary, this work shows that nominally same device with excellent characteristics in a specific experimental environment, may show vastly degraded characteristics when embedded into a module such as CMOS metallization backend – an issue that has largely been disregarded so far.