Resistive switching in transition metal oxides could form the basis for next-generation non-volatile memory (NVM). It has been reported that the current in the high-conductivity state of several technologically relevant oxide materials flows through localized filaments, but these filaments have been characterized only individually, limiting our understanding of the possibility of multiple conductive filaments nucleation and rupture and the correlation kinetics of their evolution. In this study, direct visualization of uncorrelated multiple conductive filaments in ultra-thin HfO2-based high-κ dielectric resistive random access memory (RRAM) device has been achieved by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), along with electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), for nanoscale chemical analysis. The locations of these multiple filaments are found to be spatially uncorrelated. The evolution of these microstructural changes and chemical properties of these filaments will provide a fundamental understanding of the switching mechanism for RRAM in thin oxide films and pave way for the investigation into improving the stability and scalability of switching memory devices.

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