Universal phase dynamics in VO2 switches revealed by ultrafast operando diffraction

Aditya Sood, Xiaozhe Shen, Yin Shi, Suhas Kumar, Su Ji Park, Marc Zajac, Yifei Sun, Long Qing Chen, Shriram Ramanathan, Xijie Wang, William C. Chueh, Aaron M. Lindenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Understanding the pathways and time scales underlying electrically driven insulator-metal transitions is crucial for uncovering the fundamental limits of device operation. Using stroboscopic electron diffraction, we perform synchronized time-resolved measurements of atomic motions and electronic transport in operating vanadium dioxide (VO2) switches. We discover an electrically triggered, isostructural state that forms transiently on microsecond time scales, which is shown by phase-field simulations to be stabilized by local heterogeneities and interfacial interactions between the equilibrium phases. This metastable phase is similar to that formed under photoexcitation within picoseconds, suggesting a universal transformation pathway. Our results establish electrical excitation as a route for uncovering nonequilibrium and metastable phases in correlated materials, opening avenues for engineering dynamical behavior in nanoelectronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-355
Number of pages4
Issue number6552
StatePublished - Jul 16 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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