Low-Power Switching of Phase-Change Materials with Carbon Nanotube Electrodes

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Science  10 Mar 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1201938


Phase-change materials (PCMs) are promising candidates for nonvolatile data storage and reconfigurable electronics, but high programming currents have presented a challenge to realize low power operation. We controlled PCM bits with single-wall and small-diameter multi-wall carbon nanotubes. This configuration achieves programming currents as low as 0.5 μA (SET) and 5 μA (RESET), two orders of magnitude lower than state-of-the-art devices. Pulsed measurements enable memory switching with very low energy consumption. Analysis of over 100 devices finds that the programming voltage and energy are highly scalable, and could be below 1 V and single femtojoules per bit, respectively.