In this work, we investigate mushroom type phase-change material (PCM) memory cells based on Ge2Sb2Te5. We use low-angle annular dark field (LAADF) STEM imaging and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) to study changes in microstructure and elemental distributions in the PCM cells before and after SET and RESET conditions. We describe the microscope settings required to reveal the amorphous dome in the RESET state and present an application example involving the failure analysis of a PCM test array made with devices fabricated at IBM’s Albany AI Hardware Research Center.

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