Crystallisation behaviour of phase change materials: comparison between nucleation- and growth-dominated crystallisation

G. F. Zhou, H. J. Borg, J. C.N. Rijpers, M. H.R. Lankhorst, J. J.L. Horikx

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


We have studied the crystallisation behaviour of stoichiometric GeSbTe versus (doped) eutectic SbTe materials. For pseudo-binary compositions on the GeTe-Sb2Te3 tie-line, the nucleation time and the complete erasure time (CET) of an amorphous mark are of the same order of magnitude, typically in the range 20-100 ns. For compositions close to the eutectic Sb69Te31 the nucleation time exceeds 100 μs, 4 orders of magnitude longer than the CET. The nucleation probability of doped SbTe materials was determined experimentally and a low temperature maximum was observed, in line with classical nucleation theory. The large difference in the nucleation and growth rates of both material classes has important consequences for the erase mechanism of amorphous marks in practical phase change media: for stoichiometric GeSbTe materials mark erasure is nucleation-driven, whilst it is growth-driven for eutectic SbTe compositions. For growth-driven mark erasure, we observed a strong dependence of the CET on amorphous mark size. This dependence must be quantified, to be able to compare the crystallisation speed of different growth-dominated materials. Therefore, we developed a method in which the size of a written amorphous mark was deduced from the measured modulation level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Data Storage 2000
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Data Storage 2000 - Whistler, BC, Can
Duration: 14 May 200017 May 2000

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceOptical Data Storage 2000
CityWhistler, BC, Can


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