Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - EXCELLENT PHASE (Excellent phase-change data storage materials)

Soon the capacity of a flash memory drive will reach its limits but still people will need ever higher capacity data storage devices. Wouldn't it be great to have all your 100 favorite movies, songs stored on your cell phone in high quality? Also, in the future bio-informatics could help cure diseases and for that people will need their DNA information stored digitally which could consume Terabytes of data. These are just two examples where data storage is crucial and flash memory won't be the solution. However, emerging phase change (PC) memory devices can provide an even higher capacity than flash memory devices nowadays available. These PC devices store 0 and 1 bits by changing locally the atomic structure, between ordered or disordered, and hence the electronic conductivity between metallic and insulating. In order to be able to rapidly optimize this new (PC) technology an atomic level understanding of the involved phase change mechanisms is essential.

In our research we produced the first ever atomic level computer simulation of the phase change process used in PC devices to store bits of information on the same (nanosecond) time scale as it happens in experiments. Such a simulation can give us such detailed information on the atomic structure which is not accessible in with experimental techniques. We identified a high density of crystal seeds in the disordered structure of PC materials. The presence of such seeds makes the phase transformation faster and which affects the data transfer in PC devices. Since our simulations are general, they can be applied to any material composition. So the design of new and superior phase change materials can be aided by the type of computer simulations that we demonstrated for the most commonly used phase change material, GST-225.

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United Kingdom
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