Insulator-Metal Transition in Vanadium Dioxide Thin Film

Shashank Sanjay Paithanker and Anthony Cabanillas

Photo of where the project was carried out.

Photo of where the project was carried out.

Undergraduate Student Project


Did you know that the most commonly used semiconductor material in today's technological devices is silicon? What if there is a material out there that can outperform silicon while using lesser power? My name is Shashank Sanjay Paithanker and along with Anthony Cabanillas, we, as Physics majors, worked under Dr. Ganapathy whose research group specializes in analysis of materials. Our project this past year was to analyze Vanadium Dioxide, a semiconductor material, historically used in sensors and switches. Early research shows that Vanadium Dioxide has the potential to be far more efficient than silicon as semiconductor devices and can last longer. We were interested in exploring the signal output of this material at different temperatures and at different potential differences to learn what external measures are required to bring the best out of this material.


We study the electrical transport properties, thermal-driven transition, and Voltage-driven transition of VO2 throughout the insulator-metal (IMT) transition range. Through the transport measurements, we were able to find the temperature at which the material undergoes its IMT (~ 335K). Using a Wheatstone bridge and a lock-in amplifier, we were able to measure the resistance fluctuations of our sample. By passing this data through a program that calculates Power Spectral Density, we were able to see the sample's 1/f nature (when normalized). From this we were also able to observe that there is an increase in noise signals around the transition temperature. From the Voltage-driven transition we observed a step like nature of the transition which was reversible by changing the voltage through the sample.

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