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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Feb 2;98(5):055505. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Unique melting behavior in phase-change materials for rewritable data storage.

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Condensed Matter Theory Group, Department of Physics, Uppsala University, Box 530, SE-751 21, Uppsala, Sweden.


Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) is a technologically very important phase-change material for rewritable optical and electrical storage because it can be switched rapidly back and forth between amorphous and crystalline states for millions of cycles by appropriate pulsed heating. However, an understanding of this complicated phenomenon has not yet been achieved. Here, by ab initio molecular dynamics, we unravel the reversible phase transition process of GST. The melting of rocksalt-structured GST is unique in that it forms two-dimensional linear or tangled clusters while keeping order in the perpendicular direction. It is this specific character that results in the fast and reversible phase transition between amorphous and crystalline and hence rewritable data storage.

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