Multi-Level Storage in Phase-Change Memory Devices

Phase-change memory (PCM) is a promising technology for both storage class memory and emerging non-von Neumann computing systems. For both applications, a key enabling technology is the ability to store multiple resistance levels in a single device. Multi-level storage is achieved by modulating the size of the crystalline/amorphous phase configuration. A key challenge, in this respect, is the device variability, which can be addressed by iterative programming schemes. When retrieving the stored information, the two additional challenges are resistance drift and low-frequency noise. Resistance drift is attributed to a spontaneous structural relaxation of the unstable amorphous states to a more stable “ideal glass” state and is well captured by a collective relaxation model. This model, in conjunction with the electrical transport models, provides a complete description of the time/temperature dependence of electrical transport in PCM devices. To counter resistance drift, several strategies have been devised, such as drift-resilient read-out mechanisms as well as coding and detection schemes. These techniques have helped to demonstrate storing up to 8 levels of information in a single PCM device. Yet another fascinating new approach is that of drift-resilient device architectures. Experimental results on prototype devices show remarkable promise in terms of eliminating drift as well as low-frequency noise.
Key words: Phase change memory, multi-level storage, resistance drift

By: Abu Sebastian, Manuel Le Gallo, Wabe W. Koelmans, Nikolaos Papandreou, Haris Pozidis, Evangelos Eleftheriou

Published in: E\PCOS European Phase Change and Ovonic Symposium 2016, in 2016


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