Formation-free multi-level resistive switching characteristics by using 10 nm-thick polycrystalline GeOx film in a simple W/GeOx/W structure and understanding of switching mechanism through redox reaction in H2O2/sarcosine sensing (or changing Ge°/Ge4+ oxidation states under external bias) have been reported for the first time. Oxidation states of Ge0/Ge4+ are confirmed by both XPS and H2O2 sensing of GeOx membrane in electrolyte-insulator-semiconductor structure. Highly repeatable 1000 dc cycles and stable program/erase (P/E) endurance of >106 cycles at a small pulse width of 100 ns are achieved at a low operation current of 0.1 μA. The thickness of GeOx layer is found to be increased to 12.5 nm with the reduction of polycrystalline grain size of <7 nm after P/E of 106 cycles, which is observed by high-resolution TEM. The switching mechanism is explored through redox reaction in GeOx membrane by sensing 1 nM H2O2, which is owing to the change of oxidation states from Ge0 to Ge4+ because of the enhanced O2- ions migration in memory device under external bias. In addition, sarcosine as a prostate cancer biomarker with low concentration of 50 pM to 10 μM is also detected.
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