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.
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