Fong, S.W., Sood, A., Chen, L., Kumari, N., Asheghi, M., Goodson, K.E., Gibson, G.A., and H.S.P. Wong, 2016, “Thermal Conductivity Measurement of Amorphous Dielectric Multilayers for Phase-Change Memory Power Reduction,” Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 120, 015103.
In this work, we investigate the temperature-dependent thermal conductivities of few nanometer thick alternating stacks of amorphous dielectrics, specically SiO2/Al2O3 and SiO2/Si3N4. Experiments using steady-state Joule-heating and electrical thermometry, while using a microminiature refrigerator over a wide temperature range (100-500 K), show that amorphous thin-film multilayer SiO2/Si3N4 and SiO2/Al2O3 exhibit through-plane room temperature effective thermal conductivities of about 1.14 and 0.48 W/(mK), respectively. In the case of SiO2/Al2O3, the reduced conductivity is attributed to lowered film density (7.03 → 5.44 · 1028 m−3 for SiO2 and 10.2 → 8.27 · 1028 m−3 for Al2O3) caused by Atomic layer deposition (ALD) of thin-films as well as a small, finite, and repeating thermal boundary resistance (TBR) of 1.5 m2·K/GW between dielectric layers. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations reveal that vibrational mismatch between amorphous oxide layers is small, and that the TBR between layers is largely due to imperfect interfaces. Finally, the impact of using this multilayer dielectric in a dash-type phase-change memory (PCM) device is studied using finite-element simulations.