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Nano Lett. 2008 Dec;8(12):4562-7. doi: 10.1021/nl802808f.

Void formation induced electrical switching in phase-change nanowires.

Author information

1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Abstract

Solid-state structural transformation coupled with an electronic property change is an important mechanism for nonvolatile information storage technologies, such as phase-change memories. Here we exploit phase-change GeTe single-nanowire devices combined with ex situ and in situ transmission electron microscopy to correlate directly nanoscale structural transformations with electrical switching and discover surprising results. Instead of crystalline-amorphous transformation, the dominant switching mechanism during multiple cycling appears to be the opening and closing of voids in the nanowires due to material migration, which offers a new mechanism for memory. During switching, composition change and the formation of banded structural defects are observed in addition to the expected crystal-amorphous transformation. Our method and results are important to phase-change memories specifically, but also to any device whose operation relies on a small scale structural transformation.

PMID:
19367977
DOI:
10.1021/nl802808f

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