Search Results

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
  • Item
    Sub-nanometre resolution of atomic motion during electronic excitation in phase-change materials
    (London : Nature Publishing, 2016) Mitrofanov, Kirill V.; Fons, Paul; Makino, Kotaro; Terashima, Ryo; Shimada, Toru; Kolobov, Alexander, V.; Tominaga, Junji; Bragaglia, Valeria; Giussani, Alessandro; Calarco, Raffaella; Riechert, Henning; Sato, Takahiro; Katayama, Tetsuo; Ogawa, Kanade; Togashi, Tadashi; Yabashi, Makina; Wall, Simon; Brewe, Dale; Hase, Muneaki
    Phase-change materials based on Ge-Sb-Te alloys are widely used in industrial applications such as nonvolatile memories, but reaction pathways for crystalline-to-amorphous phase-change on picosecond timescales remain unknown. Femtosecond laser excitation and an ultrashort x-ray probe is used to show the temporal separation of electronic and thermal effects in a long-lived (>100 ps) transient metastable state of Ge2Sb2Te5 with muted interatomic interaction induced by a weakening of resonant bonding. Due to a specific electronic state, the lattice undergoes a reversible nondestructive modification over a nanoscale region, remaining cold for 4 ps. An independent time-resolved x-ray absorption fine structure experiment confirms the existence of an intermediate state with disordered bonds. This newly unveiled effect allows the utilization of non-thermal ultra-fast pathways enabling artificial manipulation of the switching process, ultimately leading to a redefined speed limit and improved energy efficiency and reliability of phase-change memory technologies.