Mechanical, Structural, Thermal and Electrical Studies on Indium and Silver Doped Ge-Te Glasses having Possible PCM Applications
Sreevidya Varma, G
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The Science behind amorphous Chalcogenide materials opened up new technologies in the arena of Phase Change Memories. The Ovonic universal phase change memory is called universal because it can replace flash memory, DRAM and SRAM. These are not only basic computer memory devices but also are becoming the driving force for the ongoing revolutionary growth of cell phones and other mobile devices, which are in desperate need of memory providing higher density, faster speed and lower power consumption. In this thesis, compositional dependence of various properties of different chalcogenide glasses are investigated, to explore the possibility of their application in Phase Change Memories. Efforts are also made to understand the effect of rigidity and extended rigidity transition on the composition dependence of properties investigated. This thesis comprises of 9 chapters; a brief summary is given below. Chapter 1 deals with fundamental aspects of amorphous semiconductors with a particular reference to chalcogenide glasses. The advantages and applications of chalcogenide glasses are also described. Chapter 2 outlines preparation and characterization of the glasses investigated. The sample preparation and various experimental setup used in the present thesis work like Raman Scattering, Nanoindentation, Alternating Differential Scanning Calorimetry (ADSC), Photo-thermal Deflection Spectroscopy (PDS), Electrical Switching are summarized here. Chapter 3 deals with Micro-Raman studies in Ge15Te85-x Inx Glasses. Micro-Raman studies reveal that as-quenched Ge15Te85-xInx samples exhibit two prominent peaks, at 123 and 155 cm-1. In thermally annealed samples, the peaks at 120 cm-1 and 140 cm-1, which are due to crystalline Te, emerge as the strongest peaks. The Raman spectra of polished samples are similar to those of annealed samples, with strong peaks at 123 cm-1 and 141 cm-1. The spectra of lightly polished samples outside the thermally reversing window resemble those of thermally annealed samples; however, the spectra of glasses with compositions in the thermally reversing window resemble those of as-quenched samples. This observation confirms the earlier idea that compositions in the thermally reversing window are non-ageing and are more stable. Chapter 4 explains nanoindentation studies undertaken on Ge15Te85-xInx glasse (1 ≤ x ≤ 11). Nanoindentation studies on Ge15Te85-xInx glasses indicate that the hardness and elastic modulus of these glasses increase with indium concentration. While a pronounced plateau is seen in the elastic modulus in the composition range 3 ≤ x ≤ 7, the hardness exhibits a change in slope at compositions x = 3 and x = 7. Also, the density exhibits a broad maximum in this composition range. The observed changes in the mechanical properties and density are clearly associated with the thermally reversing window in Ge15Te85-xInx glasses in the composition range 3 ≤ x ≤ 7. In addition, a local minimum is seen in density and hardness around x = 9, the chemical threshold of the system. Chapter 5 deals with crystallization kinetics of Ge15Te85-xInx glasses. The crystallization kinetics of Ge15Te85Inx glasses have been studied by non-isothermal method. The composition dependence of Tg and Tc at different heating rates, is investigated. The activation energy of crystallization is calculated using the Kissinger’s plot. It is found that the composition dependence of the glass transition temperature, Tg and the crystallization temperature, Tc, the activation energy of crystallization, Ec, and the stability factor, (ΔT= Tc-Tg) exhibit specific signatures of intermediate phase in the composition rang 3 ≤ x ≤ 7 and Chemical Threshold at x = 9. Chapter 6 explains Alternating Differential Scanning Calorimetric and XRD studies on silver doped Ge15Te80In5 glasses. X-ray diffraction studies on quaternary Ge15Te80-xIn5Agx glasses (2 ≤ x ≤ 24) reveal the presence of Te, GeTe, Ag8GeTe6, AgTe, In2Te3 and In4Te3. Thermal studies on quaternary Ge15Te80-xIn5Agx glasses exhibit signatures of Intermediate Phase (IP) in the variation of Tg, ∆HNR and ∆Cp with Ag addition in the composition range 8 ≤ x ≤ 16. The composition x = 16 has been identified to be the Chemical Threshold (CT) based on the saturation of flexible Ag-Te bonds. Micro-Raman, molar volume, thermal diffusivity studies on Ge15Te80-xIn5Agx glasses reveal a clear evidence of intermediate phase in the composition range 8 ≤ x ≤ 16 as depicted in the ADSC studies. Chapter 7 deals with Micro-Raman studies on as-quenched Ge15Te80-xIn5Agx glasses reveal the presence of tetrahedral structural units. Further, the Raman peak positions are found to shift with silver addition. In addition, specific signatures of the Intermediate Phase (IP) are observed in the composition dependence of Raman frequencies and corresponding intensities of different modes in the composition range, 8 ≤ x ≤ 16. In thermally annealed samples, the observed Raman peaks can be attributed to crystalline tellurium and silver lattice vibrational modes; significant increase in intensity is observed at 93 and 141cm-1 with silver addition in annealed samples, suggesting an increase in silver lattice vibrational modes. Also, the compositional dependence of density, molar volume and thermal diffusivity confirms the presence of the intermediate phase. Chapter 8 contains the current-voltage characteristics and electrical switching behavior of Ge15Te80-xIn5Agx glasses. The glasses are found to exhibit memory type switching for 3mA current in the voltage range 70 -120 V, for a sample thickness 0.3 mm. But when the current is lowered to 1mA the samples exhibit threshold switching. The compositional studies indicate the presence of an intermediate phase in the composition range 8 ≤ x ≤ 16. SET-RESET studies have been carried out using a triangular pulse of 6 mA amplitude for SET and 21 mA amplitude for RESET for a sample thickness 0.3 mm. Raman studies on SET and RESET indicates SET state resemble annealed samples and RESET state resemble as-quenched samples. It is interesting to note that the samples in the intermediate phase, especially compositions at x =10, 12, 14 withstand more set-reset cycles. This indicates compositions in the intermediate phase are suitable for PCM devices. Chapter 9 summarizes the significant results obtained and explains the scope of this thesis.
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