James P. Orta

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Timothy W. Zens, PhD.


A new System Protection (SP) technology is explored by using electrical and mechanical interference-sensing devices that are implemented with granular memristive material. The granular materials consist of oxide-coated copper spheres with radii of about 700 µm that are placed in contact to produce thin oxide junctions which exhibit memristive behavior. Processes for etching, which compared acetic acid and nitric acid etches, and thermal oxidation at 100°C are performed and compared to produce copper spheres with a copper oxide layer over the sphere surface. Oxidized copper spheres are tested as sensor arrays by loading into a capillary tube in an aligned arrangement. The spheres are held in contact to characterize current-voltage behavior for various oxide thicknesses with typical ROFF values in the megaohm range. Electrical characterization of the oxidized copper spheres reveal directly proportional changes to current-voltage hyseteresis in µW under compressive forces. The thinnest oxide exhibited changes of 8.3 to 21.2 µW over 9 mN while the thickest had a response from 0.4 to 2.5 µW over 22.3 mN.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number