Simulation and design of a silicon nanowire based phase change memory cell

Ramin Banan Sadeghian, Yusuf Leblebici, Ali Shakouri

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    In this work we present preliminary calculations and simulations to demonstrate feasibility of programming a nanoscale Phase Change Random Access Memory (PCRAM) cell by means of a silicon nanowire ballistic transistor (SNWBT). Memory cells based on ballistic transistors bear the advantage of having a small size and high-speed operation with low power requirements. A one-dimensional MOSFET model (FETToy) was used to estimate the output current of the nanowire as a function of its diameter. The gate oxide thickness was 1.5 nm, and the Fermi level at source was set to -0.32 eV. For the case of V DS = VGS = 1 V, when the nanowire diameter was increased from 1 to 60 nm, the output power density dropped from 109 to 10 6 W cm-2, while the current increased from 20 to 90 μA. Finite element electro-thermal analysis were carried out on a segmented cylindrical phase-change memory cell made of Ge2Sb2Te 5 (GST) chalcogenide, connected in series to the SNWBT. The diameter of the combined device, d, and the aspect ratio of the GST region were selected so as to achieve optimum heating of the GST. With the assumption that the bulk thermal conductivity of GST does not change significantly at the nanoscale, it was shown that for d = 24 nm, a 'reset' programming current of ID = 80 μA can heat the GST up to its melting point. The results presented herein can help in the design of low cost, high speed, and radiation tolerant nanoscale PCRAM devices.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPhase-Change Materials for Memory and Reconfigurable Electronics Applications
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    Event2012 MRS Spring Meeting - San Francisco, CA, United States
    Duration: 2012 Apr 92012 Apr 13

    Publication series

    NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
    ISSN (Print)0272-9172


    Other2012 MRS Spring Meeting
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySan Francisco, CA

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Materials Science(all)
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Mechanical Engineering


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