Atomistic Origin of the Enhanced Crystallization Speed and n-Type Conductivity in Bi-doped Ge-Sb-Te Phase-Change Materials

Jonathan Skelton, Anuradha Pallipurath, TaeHoon Lee, Stephen Elliott

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Phase-change alloys are the functional materials at the heart of an emerging digital-storage technology. The GeTe-Sb2Te3 pseudo-binary systems, in par- ticular the composition Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST), are one of a handful of materials which meet the unique requirements of a stable amorphous phase, rapid amorphous-to-crystalline phase transition, and significant contrasts in optical and electrical properties between material states. The properties of GST can be optimized by doping with p-block elements, of which Bi has interesting effects on the crystallization kinetics and electrical properties. A comprehen- sive simulational study of Bi-doped GST is carried out, looking at trends in behavior and properties as a function of dopant concentration. The results reveal how Bi integrates into the host matrix, and provide insight into its enhancement of the crystallization speed. A straightforward explanation is proposed for the reversal of the charge-carrier sign beyond a critical doping threshold. The effect of Bi on the optical properties of GST is also investigated. The microscopic insight from this study may assist in the future selection of dopants to optimize the phase-change properties of GST, and also of other PCMs, and the general methods employed in this work should be applicable to the study of related materials, for example, doped chalcogenide glasses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7291
Number of pages7300
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number46
Early online date11 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2014


  • Ge-Sb-Te Phase Change Materials
  • Doped chalcogenide glasses
  • ab initio molecular-dynamics simulations
  • crystallization kinetics
  • electronic structure


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