Threshold switching via electric field induced crystallization in phase-change memory devices
Vazquez Diosdado, Jorge A.
Wright, C. David
Applied Physics Letters
American Institute of Physics
Phase-change devices exhibit characteristic threshold switching from the reset (off) to the set (on) state. Mainstream understanding of this electrical switching phenomenon is that it is initiated electronically via the influence of high electric fields on inter-band trap states in the amorphous phase. However, recent work has suggested that field induced (crystal) nucleation could instead be responsible. We compare and contrast these alternative switching “theories” via realistic simulations of device switching both with and without electric field dependent contributions to the system free energy. Results show that although threshold switching can indeed be obtained purely by electric field induced nucleation, the fields required are significantly larger than experimentally measured values.
Copyright © 2012 American Institute of Physics
Vol. 100 (25), article 253105