Electronic switching in amorphous chalcogenide semiconductors has been observed and studied for nearly forty years. Technological exploitation of this phenomenon has most recently emerged in DVD's where GST, a compound of germanium, antimony, and tellurium, is used to store information. We explain how GST behaves as a switch and how X-ray absorption fine structure can be used to unlock the specifics of the switching process. The tool that leads to this deeper understanding is the bond constraint theory. We explain how this theory leads to an explanation of switching and of the behavior and properties of amorphous materials in general. Finally, the prospects for developing GST-related materials into non-volatile memory media that could be the basis for glass computers are discussed.
Volume 96, 2022
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