Reifenberg, J.P., Kencke, D.L., and Goodson, K.E., 2008, “The Impact of Thermal Boundary Resistance in Phase-Change Memory Devices,” IEEE Electron Device Letters, Vol. 29, pp. 1112-1114.
Thermal conduction governs the writing time and energy of phase-change memory (PCM) devices. Recent measurements demonstrated large thermal resistances at the interfaces of
phase-change materials with neighboring electrode and passivation materials. In this letter, electrothermal simulations quantify the impact of these resistances on the set to reset transition. The programming current decreases strongly with increasing boundary resistance due to increased lateral temperature uniformity, which cannot be captured using a reduced effective conductivity in the phase-change material. Reductions in programming current from 20% to 30% occur for an interface resistance of 50 m2 · K/GW. The precise spatial distribution of thermal properties is critical for the simulation of PCM devices.