Review abstract

Nature Materials 6, 824 - 832 (2007)

There is an Erratum (November 2007) associated with this Review.

Subject Categories: Electronic materials | Semiconductors | Optical, photonic and optoelectronic materials

Phase-change materials for rewriteable data storage

Matthias Wuttig1 & Noboru Yamada2

Phase-change materials are some of the most promising materials for data-storage applications. They are already used in rewriteable optical data storage and offer great potential as an emerging non-volatile electronic memory. This review looks at the unique property combination that characterizes phase-change materials. The crystalline state often shows an octahedral-like atomic arrangement, frequently accompanied by pronounced lattice distortions and huge vacancy concentrations. This can be attributed to the chemical bonding in phase-change alloys, which is promoted by p-orbitals. From this insight, phase-change alloys with desired properties can be designed. This is demonstrated for the optical properties of phase-change alloys, in particular the contrast between the amorphous and crystalline states. The origin of the fast crystallization kinetics is also discussed.

  1. Physikalisches Institut, RWTH Aachen University, 52056 Aachen, Germany
  2. AV Core Technology Development Center, Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, 3-1-1 Yagumo-Naka-machi, Moriguchi, Osaka 570-8501, Japan

Correspondence to: Matthias Wuttig1 e-mail:

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