An atomic switch is a nanoionic device that controls the diffusion of metal ions/atoms and their reduction/oxidation processes in the switching operation to form/annihilate a conductive path. Since metal atoms can provide a highly conductive channel even if their cluster size is in the nanometer scale, atomic switches may enable downscaling to smaller than the 11 nm technology node, which is a great challenge for semiconductor devices. Atomic switches also possess novel characteristics, such as high on/off ratios, very low power consumption and non-volatility. The unique operating mechanisms of these devices have enabled the development of various types of atomic switch, such as gap-type and gapless-type two-terminal atomic switches and three-terminal atomic switches. Novel functions, such as selective volatile/nonvolatile, synaptic, memristive, and photo-assisted operations have been demonstrated. Such atomic switch characteristics can not only improve the performance of present-day electronic systems, but also enable development of new types of electronic systems, such as beyond von- Neumann computers.
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