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Issue 15, 2018
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Crystallization characteristic and scaling behavior of germanium antimony thin films for phase change memory

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Abstract

Amorphous Ge8Sb92 thin films with various thicknesses were deposited by magnetron sputtering. The crystallization kinetics and optical properties of the Ge8Sb92 thin films and related scaling effects were investigated by an in situ thermally induced method and an optical technique. With a decrease in film thickness, the crystallization temperature, crystallization activation energy and data retention ability increased significantly. The changed crystallization behavior may be ascribed to the smaller grain size and larger surface-to-volume ratio as the film thickness decreased. Regardless of whether the state was amorphous or crystalline, the film resistance increased remarkably as the film thickness decreased to 3 nm. The optical band gap calculated from the reflection spectra increases distinctly with a reduction in film thickness. X-ray diffraction patterns confirm that the scaling of the Ge8Sb92 thin film can inhibit the crystallization process and reduce the grain size. The values of exponent indices that were obtained indicate that the crystallization mechanism experiences a series of changes with scaling of the film thickness. The crystallization time was estimated to determine the scaling effect on the phase change speed. The scaling effect on the electrical switching performance of a phase change memory cell was also determined. The current–voltage and resistance–voltage characteristics indicate that phase change memory cells based on a thinner Ge8Sb92 film will exhibit a higher threshold voltage, lower RESET operational voltage and greater pulse width, which implies higher thermal stability, lower power consumption and relatively lower switching velocity.

Graphical abstract: Crystallization characteristic and scaling behavior of germanium antimony thin films for phase change memory

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Dec 2017, accepted on 26 Mar 2018 and first published on 26 Mar 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR09540F
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018,10, 7228-7237
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    Crystallization characteristic and scaling behavior of germanium antimony thin films for phase change memory

    W. Wu, Z. Zhao, B. Shen, J. Zhai, S. Song and Z. Song, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 7228
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR09540F

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