• composite materials;
  • ultrananocrystalline diamond;
  • electron field-emission;
  • electrical hysteresis;
  • transport mechanisms


Innovative memory switch devices require reliable bistable conductance properties. It would be desirable if such bistable characteristics were available in robust solid state materials, such as diamond, which benefit from outstanding physical properties. A bistable current with reversible switching effect from surface transfer doped ultrananocrystalline diamond thin films measured by electron field emission is reported. This switching is manifested by the appearance of huge jumps in the current emission, up to four orders of magnitude, that occur at specific extracting electric field values. Persistent hysteresis is exhibited whenever the field is ramped down. It is proposed that these phenomena are the result of resonant-tunneling through a double barrier junction composed of tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C)/nanodiamond/adsorbent/vacuum. This finding may pave the way for the realization of novel types of memory switch devices with unprecedented performance.