The sheet resistance Rs of Ar+ irradiated SrTiO3 in patterns with a length scale of several microns increases significantly below ∼40 K in connection with driving currents exceeding a certain threshold. The initial lower Rs is recovered upon warming with accelerated recovery around 70 and 160 K. Scanning superconducting quantum interference device microscopy shows local irreversible changes in the spatial distribution of the current with a length scale of several microns. We attribute the observed nonuniform enhancement of Rs to the attraction of the charged single-oxygen and dioxygen vacancies by the crystallographic domain boundaries in SrTiO3. The boundaries, which are nearly ferroelectric below 40 K, are polarized by the local electrical field associated with the driven current and the clustered vacancies which suppress conductivity in their vicinity and yield a noticeable enhancement in the device resistance when the current path width is on the order of the boundary extension. The temperatures of accelerated conductivity recovery are associated with the energy barriers for the diffusion of the two types of vacancies.
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