Switching and Memory in Amorphous Semiconductors

  • H. Fritzsche


It usually happens that fundamental research in the sciences of materials follows rather than precedes technological application. Thus the commercial success of xerography (Dessauer and Clark, 1965) retroactively stimulated extensive basic investigation of the optical and transport properties of selenium and selenide alloys. Similarly, the discovery of nondestructive switching in thin films of certain chalcogenide alloys (Ovshinsky (1959, 1963, 1967, 1968)) has recently provoked an explosive increase of interest in the physics of noncrystalline semiconductors generally. In particular, the utilization of reversible structural transformations in these alloys for binary information storage (Ovshinsky (1966, 1969) Evans, Helbers and Ovshinsky (1970) has motivated intensive study of the chemistry, morphology, and kinetics of phase separation and vitrification. Moreover, the use of similar alloys for photographic (Ovshinsky (1969) Ovshinsky and Klose (1972) Berkes, Ing, Jr. and Hillegas (1971)) and holographic (Pearson and Bagley (1971) Keneman (1971)) imaging has to a large degree revived photocrystallization, photonucleation, and photopolymerization as fields of active research.


Space Charge Memory Device Space Charge Region Chalcogenide Glass Filament Region 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Company Ltd 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Fritzsche
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and James Franck InstituteThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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