Phase change memory materials store information through their reversible transitions between crystalline and amorphous states. For typical metal chalcogenide compounds, their phase transition properties directly impact critical memory characteristics and the manipulation of these is a major focus in the field. Here, we discuss recent work that explores the tuning of such properties by scaling the materials to nanoscale dimensions, including fabrication and synthetic strategies used to produce nanoscale phase change memory materials. The trends that emerge are relevant to understanding how such memory technologies will function as they scale to ever smaller dimensions and also suggest new approaches to designing materials for phase change applications. Finally, the challenges and opportunities raised by integrating nanoscale phase change materials into switching devices are discussed.
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