After revolutionizing the technology of optical data storage, phase change materials are being adopted in non-volatile semiconductor memories. Their success in electronic storage is mostly due to the unique properties of the amorphous state where carrier transport phenomena and thermally-induced phase change cooperate to enable high-speed, low-voltage operation and stable data retention possible within the same material. This paper reviews the key physical properties that make this phase so special, the quantitative framework of cell performance, and the future perspectives of phase-change memory devices at the deep nanoscale.

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70301-7