The dynamic response of a non-volatile, bistable resistive memory fabricated in the form of Al2O3/polymer diodes has been probed in both the off- and on-state using triangular and step voltage profiles. The results provide insight into the wide spread in switching times reported in the literature and explain an apparently anomalous behaviour of the on-state, namely the disappearance of the negative differential resistance region at high voltage scan rates which is commonly attributed to a “dead time” phenomenon. The off-state response follows closely the predictions based on a classical, two-layer capacitor description of the device. As voltage scan rates increase, the model predicts that the fraction of the applied voltage, Vox, appearing across the oxide decreases. Device responses to step voltages in both the off- and on-state show that switching events are characterized by a delay time. Coupling such delays to the lower values of Vox attained during fast scan rates, the anomalous observation in the on-state that, device currents decrease with increasing voltage scan rate, is readily explained. Assuming that a critical current is required to turn off a conducting channel in the oxide, a tentative model is suggested to explain the shift in the onset of negative differential resistance to lower voltages as the voltage scan rate increases. The findings also suggest that the fundamental limitations on the speed of operation of a bilayer resistive memory are the time- and voltage-dependences of the switch-on mechanism and not the switch-off process.

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