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Theses

Transport électronique dans les matériaux à changement de phase amorphe

Abstract : Phase change materials combine a pronounced contrast in resistivity and reflectivity between their disordered amorphous and ordered crystalline state with very fast crystallization kinetics. Due to this exceptional combination of properties phase-change materials find broad application in non-volatile optical memories such as CD, DVD or Bluray Disc. Furthermore, this class of materials demonstrates remarkable electrical transport phenomena in their disordered state, which have shown to be crucial for their application in electronic storage devices. The threshold switching phenomenon denotes the sudden decrease in resistivity beyond a critical electrical threshold field. The threshold switching phenomenon facilitates the phase transitions at practical small voltages. Below this threshold the amorphous state resistivity is thermally activated and is observed to increase with time. This effect known as resistance drift seriously hampers the development of multi-level storage devices. Hence, understanding the physical origins of threshold switching and resistance drift phenomena is crucial to improve non-volatile phase-change memories. Even though both phenomena are often attributed to localized defect states in the band gap, the defect state density in amorphous phase-change materials has remained poorly studied. This thesis presents defects state densities measured on different amorphous phase-change materials and chalcogenides showing electrical threshold switching. On the basis of Modulated Photo Current (MPC) Experiments and Photothermal Spectroscopy a sophisticated band model for a-GeTe has been developed, which is shown to consist of defect bands and band tail states. This study on a-GeTe has shown that the data analysis within MPC experiments can be drastically improved by taking the temperature dependence of the optical band gap into account. To get a better understanding of resistance drift phenomena this study focuses on the evolution of resistivity on heating and ageing, activation energy of electronic conduction, optical band gap, defect state density, mechanical stress and nearest neighbour ordering in a-GeTe thin films. After heating the samples one hour at 140°C the activation energy for electric conduction increases by 30 meV, while the optical band gap increases by 60 meV. Additionally, MPC experiments revealed a decreasing concentration of mid gap states in aged a-GeTe thin films. These findings demonstrate the impact of band gap opening and defect annihilation on resistance drift. Furthermore, the stoichiometric dependence of resistance drift phenomena in a-GeSnTe phase-change alloys is studied in this thesis. A systematic decrease in the amorphous state resistivity, activation energy for electric conduction, optical band gap and defect density is observed with increasing tin content resulting in a low resistance drift for tin rich compositions such as a-Ge2Sn2Te4. This study on GeSnTe systems demonstrates, that phase change alloys showing a more stable amorphous state resistivity are characterized by a low activation energy of electronic conduction. This finding found in GeSnTe alloys holds also true for GeSbTe and AgInSbTe systems. On the example of a-Ge2Sn2Te4 and a-GeTe exhibiting a strong resistance drift, the evolution of the amorphous state resistivity is shown to be closely linked to the relaxation of internal mechanical stresses resulting in an improving structural ordering of the amorphous phase. For the investigated alloys showing electrical switching, the measured density of midgap states is observed to decreases with decreasing threshold field known from literature. This result favours a generation-recombination model behind electrical switching in amorphous chalcogenides as originally proposed by Adler.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 19, 2012 - 10:12:13 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00743474, version 1

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Jennifer Luckas. Transport électronique dans les matériaux à changement de phase amorphe. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI; Rheinisch-westfälische technische Hochschule (Aix-la-Chapelle, Allemagne), 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PA112157⟩. ⟨tel-00743474⟩

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