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Nat Mater. 2005 Apr;4(4):347-52.

Low-cost and nanoscale non-volatile memory concept for future silicon chips.

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Philips Research Laboratories, Prof. Holstlaan 4, 5656 AA Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


Non-volatile 'flash' memories are key components of integrated circuits because they retain their data when power is interrupted. Despite their great commercial success, the semiconductor industry is searching for alternative non-volatile memories with improved performance and better opportunities for scaling down the size of memory cells. Here we demonstrate the feasibility of a new semiconductor memory concept. The individual memory cell is based on a narrow line of phase-change material. By sending low-power current pulses through the line, the phase-change material can be programmed reversibly between two distinguishable resistive states on a timescale of nanoseconds. Reducing the dimensions of the phase-change line to the nanometre scale improves the performance in terms of speed and power consumption. These advantages are achieved by the use of a doped-SbTe phase-change material. The simplicity of the concept promises that integration into a logic complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process flow might be possible with only a few additional lithographic steps.


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