Research Article

Phase-change heterostructure enables ultralow noise and drift for memory operation

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Science  11 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6462, pp. 210-215
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay0291

Getting more bits out of PCRAM

Phase-change random access memory (PCRAM) has the ability to both store and process information. It also suffers from noise and electrical drift due to damage that accumulates during the cycling process. Ding et al. developed a phase-change heterostructure where a phase-change material is separated by a confinement material, creating an alternating stack (see the Perspective by Gholipour). This architecture results in ultralow noise, lower drift, and stable multilevel storage capacity, which are potentially useful for new forms of computing.

Science, this issue p. 210; see also p. 186


Artificial intelligence and other data-intensive applications have escalated the demand for data storage and processing. New computing devices, such as phase-change random access memory (PCRAM)–based neuro-inspired devices, are promising options for breaking the von Neumann barrier by unifying storage with computing in memory cells. However, current PCRAM devices have considerable noise and drift in electrical resistance that erodes the precision and consistency of these devices. We designed a phase-change heterostructure (PCH) that consists of alternately stacked phase-change and confinement nanolayers to suppress the noise and drift, allowing reliable iterative RESET and cumulative SET operations for high-performance neuro-inspired computing. Our PCH architecture is amenable to industrial production as an intrinsic materials solution, without complex manufacturing procedure or much increased fabrication cost.

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