Electrically reversible cracks in an intermetallic film controlled by an electric field

Z. Q. Liu, J. H. Liu, M. D. Biegalski, J. M. Hu, S. L. Shang, Y. Ji, J. M. Wang, S. L. Hsu, A. T. Wong, M. J. Cordill, B. Gludovatz, C. Marker, H. Yan, Z. X. Feng, L. You, M. W. Lin, T. Z. Ward, Z. K. Liu, C. B. Jiang, L. Q. ChenR. O. Ritchie, H. M. Christen, R. Ramesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Cracks in solid-state materials are typically irreversible. Here we report electrically reversible opening and closing of nanoscale cracks in an intermetallic thin film grown on a ferroelectric substrate driven by a small electric field (~0.83 kV/cm). Accordingly, a nonvolatile colossal electroresistance on-off ratio of more than 108 is measured across the cracks in the intermetallic film at room temperature. Cracks are easily formed with low-frequency voltage cycling and remain stable when the device is operated at high frequency, which offers intriguing potential for next-generation high-frequency memory applications. Moreover, endurance testing demonstrates that the opening and closing of such cracks can reach over 107 cycles under 10-μs pulses, without catastrophic failure of the film.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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