Applied Surface Science, Vol.256, No.7, 2223-2227, 2010
Effects of nitrogen doping on the properties of Ge15Sb85 phase-change thin film
The effects of nitrogen doping on the chemical bonding state, microstructure, electrical property and thermal stability of Ge15Sb85 film were investigated in detail. The doped N atoms tend to bond with Ge to form Ge3N4, as proved by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses. X-ray diffraction patterns showed that both undoped and N-doped Ge15Sb85 films crystallize into a hexagonal phase very similar to Sb. The thickness reduction upon crystallization for undoped and N-doped Ge15Sb85 films is less than 5%. The crystalline resistivity, crystallization temperature, and thermal stability of amorphous state all increase after nitrogen doping, while the grain size decreases. By adding 7.0 at.% N into the Ge15Sb85 film, the crystalline resistivity increases twelve times and the crystallization temperature increases about 50 degrees C. The maximum temperature for 10-year retention of amorphous Ge15Sb85 film is estimated to be 147 degrees C and that of N-doped films is even higher, which will promise better data retention of phase-change random access memory especially in the high-temperature application. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.