Amorphous to Crystal Phase Change Memory Effect with Two-Fold Bandgap Difference in Semiconducting K2Bi8Se13

Saiful M. Islam, Vinod K. Sangwan, D. Bruce Buchholz, Spencer A. Wells, Lintao Peng, Li Zeng, Yihui He, Mark C. Hersam, John B. Ketterson, Tobin J. Marks, Michael J. Bedzyk, Matthew Grayson, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Chalcogenide-based phase change memory (PCM) is a key enabling technology for optical data storage and electrical nonvolatile memory. Here, we report a new phase change chalcogenide consisting of a 3D network of ionic (K···Se) and covalent bonds (Bi-Se), K2Bi8Se13 (KBS). Thin films of amorphous KBS deposited by DC sputtering are structurally and chemically homogeneous and exhibit a surface roughness of 5 nm. The KBS film crystallizes upon heating at 483 K. The optical bandgap of the amorphous film is about 1.25 eV, while its crystalline phase has a bandgap of ∼0.65 eV shows 2-fold difference between the two states. The bulk electrical conductivity of the amorphous and crystalline film is ∼7.5 × 10-4 and ∼2.7 × 10-2 S/cm, respectively. We have demonstrated a phase change memory effect in KBS by Joule heating in a technologically relevant vertical memory cell architecture. Upon Joule heating, the vertical device undergoes switching from its amorphous to crystalline state of KBS at 1-1.5 V (∼50 kV/cm), increasing conductivity by a factor of ∼40. Besides the large electrical and optical contrast in the crystalline and amorphous KBS, its elemental cost-effectiveness, stoichiometry, fast crystallization kinetics, as determined by the ratio of the glass transition and melting temperature, Tg/Tm ∼0.5, as well as the scalable synthesis of the thin film determine that KBS is a promising PC material for next general phase change memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6221-6228
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 28 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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