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Strain Development and Damage Accumulation Under Ion Irradiation of Polycrystalline Ge–Sb–Te Alloys

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The atomic displacement produced by ion irradiation with 150 keV Ar+ ions has been studied in Ge1Sb2Te4 and Ge2Sb2Te5. Electrical, optical and structural measurements have been employed to characterize the induced electrical and structural modifications. At low temperature the amorphization threshold, evaluated by in situ reflectivity measurements, is independent of the composition and the crystalline structure, and it is equal to 1 × 1013 cm–2. At room temperature, at which dynamic annealing can take place, Ge2Sb2Te5 and Ge1Sb2Te4 in the rocksalt phase exhibit the same amorphization threshold (3 × 1013 cm–2). In the trigonal structure, instead, a higher fluence is required to amorphize the Ge1Sb2Te4, compared to Ge2Sb2Te5. The observed differences between the two compositions can be explained considering the effect of dynamic annealing during ion irradiation of the trigonal phase, which is characterized by the presence of van der Waals gaps. These may act as a preferential sink for the diffusion of the displaced atoms and the filling of these gaps tunes the electronic and structural properties. Filling of about 30% of the gaps produces an electronic transition from metallic to insulating behavior. By further increasing the disorder and filling more than 70% of the gaps the films convert into the rocksalt phase.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters (NNL) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal consolidating nanoscale research activities in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine into a single and unique reference source. NNL provides the means for scientists, engineers, medical experts and technocrats to publish original short research articles as communications/letters of important new scientific and technological findings, encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of the physical sciences, engineering and medicine.
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