Thermal Conductivity Anisotropy and Grain Structure in Ge2Sb2Te5 Films

Lee, J., Li, Z., Reifenberg, J.P., Lee, S., Sinclair, R., Asheghi, M., and Goodson, K.E., 2011, "Thermal Conductivity Anisotropy and Grain Structure in Ge2Sb2Te5 Films," Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 109, 084902.

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Although lateral thermal conduction in Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) films can influence the performance of phase change memory (PCM), there are no data available for the in-plane thermal conductivity. This work measures both the in-plane and the out-of-plane thermal conductivities for the amorphous, face-centered-cubic, and hexagonal-close-packed phases of GST using two independent techniques. For crystalline GST, we report anisotropy favoring out-of-plane conduction by up to 54%, which varies with annealing time. Scaling arguments indicate that the anisotropy may be due to the thermal resistance of amorphous regions near grain boundaries. This explanation is consistent with transmission electron microscopy images showing columnar grains and amorphous phase at grain boundaries.

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Phase change memory (PCM or PCRAM) is based on rapid, thermally-induced phase transitions in Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) and related compounds. Because the phase change is induced by temperature changes, thermal...