Charge collection microscopy of in-situ switchable PRAM line cells in a scanning electron microscope: Technique development and unique observations

J. L. M. Oosthoek, R. W. Schuitema, G. H. ten Brink, D. J. Gravesteijn, B. J. Kooi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


An imaging method has been developed based on charge collection in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) that allows discrimination between the amorphous and crystalline states of Phase-change Random Access Memory (PRAM) line cells. During imaging, the cells are electrically connected and can be switched between the states and the resistance can be measured. This allows for electrical characterization of the line cells in-situ in the SEM. Details on sample and measurement system requirements are provided which turned out to be crucial for the successful development of this method. Results show that the amorphous or crystalline state of the line cells can be readily discerned, but the spatial resolution is relatively poor. Nevertheless, it is still possible to estimate the length of the amorphous mark, and also for the first time, we could directly observe the shift of the amorphous mark from one side of the line cell to the other side when the polarity of the applied (50 ns) RESET pulse was reversed. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number033702
Number of pages9
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2015


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