Field Induced Crystal Nucleation in Chalcogenide Phase Change Memory


A summary is presented of our theoretical and experimental work over more than two years related to switching in chalcogenide glass phase change memory. As a significant addition to the well known experiments, we have studied switching under considerably lower voltages and elevated temperatures, as well as the statistics of switching events and relaxation oscillations. Our analytical theory, based on field induced crystal nucleation, predicts all of our observed features and their dependencies on material parameters.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1

    S. R. Ovshinsky, Phys. Rev. Lett. 21 (20), 1450 (1968).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    D. Adler, H. K. Henisch, and N. Mott, Rev. Mod. Phys. 50 (2), 209 (1978).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    V. G. Karpov, Y. A. Kryukov, S. D. Savransky, and I. V. Karpov, Appl. Phys. Lett. 90 (12), 123504 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    V. G. Karpov, Y. A. Kryukov, I. V. Karpov, and M. Mitra, Phys. Rev. B. 78 (5), 052201 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    V. G. Karpov, Y. A. Kryukov, M. Mitra, and I. V. Karpov, J. Appl. Phys. 104 (5), 054507 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    I. V. Karpov, M. Mitra, D. Kau, G. Spadini, Y. A. Kryukov, and V. G. Karpov, Appl. Phys. Lett. 92 (17), 173501 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    M. Nardone, V. G. Karpov, D. C. S. Jackson, and I. V. Karpov, Appl. Phys. Lett. 94, 103509 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    L. D. Landau and I. M. Lifshits, Electrodynamics of Continuous Media. (Pergamon, New York, 1984).

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    S. M. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices. (Wiley, New York, 1981).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    B. H. Kolomiets, E. A. Lebedev, and I. A. Taksami, Soviet Phys. Semicond. 3, 267 (1969).

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    P. J. Walsh, R. Vogel, and E. J. Evans, Phys. Rev. 178 (3), 1274 (1969).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    V. G. Karpov and D. Oxtoby, Phys. Rev. B 54, 9734 (1996).

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    A. E. Owen and J. M. Robertson, IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 20 (2), 105 (1973).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    A. C. Warren, IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 20 (2), 123 (1973).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marco Nardone.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nardone, M., Karpov, V.G., Mitra, M. et al. Field Induced Crystal Nucleation in Chalcogenide Phase Change Memory. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1160, 1302 (2009).

Download citation