Local Electric Property Modification of Ferroelectric Tunnel Junctions Induced by Variation of Polarization Charge Screening Conditions under Measurement with Scanning Probe Techniques

Scanning tunneling spectroscopy in ultrahigh vacuum conditions and conductive atomic-force microscopy in ambient conditions were used to study local electroresistive properties of ferroelectric tunnel junctions SrTiO3/La0.7Sr0.3MnO3/BaTiO3. Interestingly, experimental current-voltage characteristics appear to strongly depend on the measurement technique applied. It was found that screening conditions of the polarization charges at the interface with a top electrode differ for two scanning probe techniques. As a result, asymmetry of the tunnel barrier height for the opposite ferroelectric polarization orientations may be influenced by the method applied to study the local tunnel electroresistance. Our observations are well described by the theory of electroresistance in ferroelectric tunnel junctions. Based on this, we reveal the main factors that influence the polarization-driven local resistive properties of the device under study. Additionally, we propose an approach to enhance asymmetry of ferroelectric tunnel junctions during measurement. While keeping the high locality of scanning probe techniques, it helps to increase the difference in the value of tunnel electroresistance for the opposite polarization orientations.


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