Illinois Nano EP Seminar Series Fall 2011: Phase Change Memory (PCM) Technology: Where We Are and Where We Are Going

By Roberto Bez

Director, Micron Technology

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As of the early 2000s few disruptive technologies had been proposed to replace the standard Non-Volatile Memory technology in the semiconductor industry. As a fact any new technology takes a long time to be accepted; after the concept demonstration and the technology validation it must enter into the production phase, demonstrating to be solid for manufacturing and strongly reliable for the product specification. Another key aspect of a new technology is the medium-long term scalability with the perspective to realize a memory cell and array that can be miniaturized following the leading edge roadmap. PCM technology is demonstrating the capability to enter the broad memory market and to be a mainstream memory thanks to a new set of features interesting for novel applications, combining components of NVM and DRAM and being at the same time a sustaining and a disruptive technology. Moreover there are intense efforts on the PCM technology development. On one side the industry is focused on the increase of the memory density through the scalability and the 3-dimensional integration. On the other side the chalcogenide material research is devoted to facilitate the scaling path and to enlarge and open new application fields. In this talk the status of PCM in the semiconductor industry and the perspectives of the most important research lines for the near future will be presented.


Roberto Bez received the doctoral degree in Physics from the University of Milan, Italy in 1985. In 1987 he joined the Central R&D department of STMicroelectronics and started to work on Non-volatile Memory (NVM) technologies. In the 1990s, he participated in the development of the NOR Flash memory technology, initially as expert of the device physics and reliability and subsequently as project leader of the multilevel product development. since 2001, he has been working on the development of the NAND Flash memory and on the emerging technology based on the phase change memory concept. In March 2008 he joined Numonyx as Fellow, driving the development of the phase change memory and other alternative NVM technology. From April 201o he is with Micron, which acquired Numonyx. He has authored many papers, conference contributions and patents on topics related to NVM. He has been lecturer in Electron Device Physics at the University of Milan and in Non-volatile Memory Devices at the University of Padova, Politecnico of Milan and University of Udine.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Roberto Bez (2012), "Illinois Nano EP Seminar Series Fall 2011: Phase Change Memory (PCM) Technology: Where We Are and Where We Are Going,"

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MNTL 1000, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagn, Urbana, IL


Mohamud Yusuf Mohamed

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign