Investigation of Phase Transitions in Stacked GeTe/SnTe and Ge2Se3/SnTe Chalcogenide Films
Phase transitions in stacked GeTe/SnTe and Ge2Se3/SnTe thin layers for potential phase-change memory applications have been investigated by X-ray diffraction using an area detector system and by scanning electron microscopy. The as-deposited underlying GeTe or Ge2Se3 layer is amorphous, whereas the top SnTe layer is crystalline. In GeTe/SnTe stack, the crystallization of GeTe phase occurs near 170°C, and upon further heating, GeTe phase disappears, followed by the formation of rocksalt-structured GexSn1-xTe solid solution. In Ge2Se3/SnTe stack, the phase transition starts with the separation of SnSe phase due to the migration of Sn ions into the Ge2Se3 layer. The migration of Sn ions and the formation of SnSe are believed to facilitate the crystallization of Ge2Se3 solid solution at ~360°C, which is much lower than the crystallization temperature of Ge2Se3, therefore consuming less power during the phase transition.
Chengming Li, Chengbao Jiang, Zhiyong Zhong and Yichun Zhou
F. M. Bai et al., "Investigation of Phase Transitions in Stacked GeTe/SnTe and Ge2Se3/SnTe Chalcogenide Films", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 687, pp. 677-683, 2011