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Ovshinsky Effect by Quantum Mechanics

Authors: Thomas V. Prevenslik


Ovshinsky initiated scientific research in the field of amorphous and disordered materials that continues to this day. The Ovshinsky Effect where the resistance of thin GST films is significantly reduced upon the application of low voltage is of fundamental importance in phase-change - random access memory (PC-RAM) devices.GST stands for GdSbTe chalcogenide type glasses.However, the Ovshinsky Effect is not without controversy. Ovshinsky thought the resistance of GST films is reduced by the redistribution of charge carriers; whereas, others at that time including many PC-RAM researchers today argue that the GST resistance changes because the GST amorphous state is transformed to the crystalline state by melting, the heat supplied by external heaters. In this controversy, quantum mechanics (QM) asserts the heat capacity of GST films vanishes, and therefore melting cannot occur as the heat supplied cannot be conserved by an increase in GST film temperature.By precluding melting, QM re-opens the controversy between the melting and charge carrier mechanisms. Supporting analysis is presented to show that instead of increasing GST film temperature, conservation proceeds by the QED induced creation of photons within the GST film, the QED photons confined by TIR. QED stands for quantum electrodynamics and TIR for total internal reflection. The TIR confinement of QED photons is enhanced by the fact the absorbedheat energy absorbed in the GST film is concentrated in the TIR mode because of their high surface to volume ratio. The QED photons having Planck energy beyond the ultraviolet produce excitons by the photoelectric effect, the electrons and holes of which reduce the GST film resistance.

Keywords: Ovshinsky, phase change memory, PC-RAM, chalcogenide, quantummechanics, quantum electrodynamics.

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