Date of this Version
PHYSICAL REVIEW B 104, L060101 (2021). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.104.L060101
We propose energy band engineering to enhance tunneling electroresistance (TER) in ferroelectric tunnel junctions (FTJs). We predict that an ultrathin dielectric layer with a smaller band gap, embedded into a ferroelectric barrier layer, acts as a switch controlling high- and low-conductance states of an FTJ depending on polarization orientation. Using first-principles modeling based on density functional theory, we investigate this phenomenon for a prototypical SrRuO3/BaTiO3/SrRuO3 FTJ with a BaSnO3 monolayer embedded in the BaTiO3 barrier. We show that in such a composite-barrier FTJ, ferroelectric polarization of BaTiO3 shifts the conduction-band minimum of the BaSnO3 monolayer above or below the Fermi energy depending on polarization orientation. The resulting switching between direct and resonant tunneling leads to a TER effect with a giant ON/OFF conductance ratio. The proposed resonant band engineering of FTJs can serve as a viable tool to enhance their performance, useful for device applications.