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Phase change materials and phase change memory

  • Simone Raoux (a1), Feng Xiong (a2), Matthias Wuttig (a3) and Eric Pop (a4)

Abstract

Phase change memory (PCM) is an emerging technology that combines the unique properties of phase change materials with the potential for novel memory devices, which can help lead to new computer architectures. Phase change materials store information in their amorphous and crystalline phases, which can be reversibly switched by the application of an external voltage. This article describes the advantages and challenges of PCM. The physical properties of phase change materials that enable data storage are described, and our current knowledge of the phase change processes is summarized. Various designs of PCM devices with their respective advantages and integration challenges are presented. The scaling limits of PCM are addressed, and its performance is compared to competing existing and emerging memory technologies. Finally, potential new applications of phase change devices such as neuromorphic computing and phase change logic are outlined.

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