New phase-change memory would turn out to be an alternative to the ubiquitous flash memory for data storage applications
Researchers at Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information have developed a new electronic alloy called the 50-50 chip, which is anticipated to facilitate developing future phase-change memory devices.
Claimed to be the data-storage technology of the future, the new phase-change memory would turn out to be an alternative to the ubiquitous flash memory for data storage applications.
Led by Xilin Zhou, the research notes that the phase-change memory is relies on resources that change from a disordered, amorphous structure to a crystalline structure upon the application of an electrical pulse.
According to research, the material would have high electrical resistance in its amorphous state, while a low resistance in its crystalline state, which corresponds to the 1 and 0 states of binary data.
A phase-change memory device could be less than 10nmm, which would allow additional memory to be added into tinier spaces.
"That’s the most important feature of this kind of memory," Zhou said.
"It’s difficult to control the phase-change memory manufacturing process of ternary alloys such as the traditionally used germanium-antimony-tellurium material. Etching and polishing of the material with chalcogens can change the material’s composition, due to the motion of the tellurium atoms."
Phase-change memories are also claimed to allow rapid data writing, with the devices being relatively cheap.
"A two-step resistance drop during the crystallisation of the material can be used for multilevel data storage (MLS) and, interestingly, three distinct resistance levels are achieved in the phase-change memory cells," Zhou added.
"So the aluminum-antimony material looks promising for use in high-density nonvolatile memory applications because of its good thermal stability and MLS capacity."
Researchers are also exploring reversible electrical switching of the phase-change memory cell with MLS capacity.