Window glass becomes a memory device?

A transparent electrochromic metal-insulator switching device with three-terminal transistor geometry [Scientific Reports 6, 25819 (2016)]


Proton and hydroxyl ion play an essential role for tuning functionality of oxides because their electronic state can be controlled by modifying oxygen off-stoichiometry and/or protonation. Tungsten trioxide (WO3), a well-known electrochromic (EC) material for smart window, is a wide bandgap insulator, whereas it becomes a metallic conductor HxWO3 by protonation. Although one can utilize electrochromism together with metal-insulator (MI) switching for one device, such EC-MI switching cannot be utilized in current EC devices because of their two-terminal structure with parallel-plate configuration. Here we demonstrate a transparent EC-MI switchable device with three-terminal TFT-type structure using amorphous (a-) WO3 channel layer, which was fabricated on glass substrate at room temperature. We used water-infiltrated nano-porous glass, CAN (calcium aluminate with nano-pores), as a liquid-leakage-free solid gate insulator. At virgin state, the device was fully transparent in the visible-light region. For positive gate voltage, the active channel became dark blue, and electrical resistivity of the a-WO3 layer drastically decreased with protonation. For negative gate voltage, deprotonation occurred and the active channel returned to transparent insulator. Good cycleability of the present transparent EC-MI switching device would have potential for the development of advanced smart windows.