Irreversible altering of crystalline phase of phase-change Ge–Sb thin films

Krusin-Elbaum, L.; Shakhvorostov, D.; Cabral, C.; Raoux, S.; Jordan-Sweet, J. L.
March 2010
Applied Physics Letters;3/22/2010, Vol. 96 Issue 12, p121906
Academic Journal
The stability of the crystalline phase of binary phase-change GexSb1-x films is investigated over a wide range of Ge content. From Raman spectroscopy we find the Ge–Sb crystalline structure irreversibly altered after exposure to a laser beam. We show that with increasing beam intensity/temperature Ge agglomerates and precipitates out in the amount growing with x. A simple empirical relation links Ge precipitation temperature TGep to the rate of change dTcryst/dx of crystallization, with the precipitation easiest on the mid-range x plateau, where Tcryst is nearly constant. Our findings point to a preferable 15%<=x<=50% window, that may achieve the desired cycling/archival properties of a phase-change cell.


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