AIP Advances

Activation energy of metastable amorphous Ge2Sb2Te5 from room temperature to melt

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Resistivity of metastable amorphous Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) measured at device level show an exponential decline with temperature matching with the steady-state thin-film resistivity measured at 858 K (melting temperature). This suggests that the free carrier activation mechanisms form a continuum in a large temperature scale (300 K - 858 K) and the metastable amorphous phase can be treated as a super-cooled liquid. The effective activation energy calculated using the resistivity versus temperature data follow a parabolic behavior, with a room temperature value of 333 meV, peaking to ∼377 meV at ∼465 K and reaching zero at ∼930 K, using a reference activation energy of 111 meV (3kBT/2) at melt. Amorphous GST is expected to behave as a p-type semiconductor at Tmelt ∼ 858 K and transitions from the semiconducting-liquid phase to the metallic-liquid phase at ∼ 930 K at equilibrium. The simultaneous Seebeck (S) and resistivity versus temperature measurements of amorphous-fcc mixed-phase GST thin-films show linear S-T trends that meet S = 0 at 0 K, consistent with degenerate semiconductors, and the dS/dT and room temperature activation energy show a linear correlation. The single-crystal fcc is calculated to have dS/dT = 0.153 μV/K2 for an activation energy of zero and a Fermi level 0.16 eV below the valance band edge.