Application of phase change memory (PCM) has been limited by the high power required to reset the device (changing from crystalline to amorphous state by melting the phase change material). Utilizing the poor thermal and electrical conductivity of TaN we have designed a simple structure that thermally insulates the bottom electrode and thus drastically reduces the heat loss. A 39nm bottom electrode with a TaN thermal barrier and 1.5nm of TiN conductor has demonstrated 30μA reset current, representing a 90% reduction. The benefit of thermal insulation is understood through electrothermal simulation, and the benefit is demonstrated in a 256Mb test chip. The low reset current also improves the reliability and excellent cycling endurance >1E9 is observed. This low power device is promising for expanding the application for PCM. © 2011 IEEE.