Symposium EL09—Phase-Change Materials for Electronic and Photonic Nonvolatile Memory and Neuro-Inspired Computing
Chalcogenide phase change materials (PCMs) based random access memory (PCRAM) is one of the leading candidates for non-volatile memory and neuro-inspired computing technologies. The former combines the advantages of non-volatility and fast operation speed, thus making the distinction between data storage and memory obsolete. The latter unifies computing with storage in a single cell, marking a shift to non-von Neumann computing architectures. Owing to the significant contrast in both electrical resistance and optical reflectivity between amorphous and crystalline phases, PCMs are suitable for both electronic and photonic applications. The strong change in electronic and optical properties stems from the change in the degree of disorder and bonding mechanisms. The switching between the two solid states is achieved by rapid and reversible phase transitions, namely, crystallization for SET (write) and amorphization for RESET (erase), of phase change materials. PCRAM has become technologically mature with recently released competitive electronic memory products. However, to further improve the performance of PCRAM to compete with DRAM and even SRAM in terms of switching speed / power consumption, and storage capacity / data retention of NAND Flash memory, massive efforts are required from both fundamental research of the material properties, and device design and engineering. Neuro-inspired computing and non-volatile photonic applications based on PCMs are still at their early research stage and are under very active development. We aim at making the symposium a great platform that allows exchange of ideas and information, which will push forward the development of novel PCM-based electronic and photonic devices.