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# Breakdown of the Stokes-Einstein Relation Above the Melting Temperature in a Liquid Phase-Change Material

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### Abstract

The dynamic properties of liquid phase-change materials (PCMs), such as viscosity $$\eta$$ and atomic self-diffusion coefficients D, play an essential role in ultrafast phase switching behavior of novel non-volatile phase-change memory applications, as they are intimately related to crystallization kinetics and phase stabilities. To connect $$\eta$$ to D, the Stokes-Einstein relation (SER) is commonly assumed to be valid at high temperatures near or above the melting temperature $$T_{m}$$ and is frequently employed for assessing liquid fragility (or crystal growth velocity) of technologically important PCM compositions. However, using quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS), we give here experimental evidence for a breakdown of the SER even at temperatures above $$T_{m}$$ in the high-atomic-mobility state of a typical PCM, Ge$$_{1}$$Sb$$_{2}$$Te$$_{4}$$, where the decay of density correlation functions still remains exponential. The origin of the breakdown is thus unlikely the result of dynamical heterogeneities, as is usually postulated for viscous liquids. Rather, we discuss its possible connections to a metal-semiconductor and fragile-strong transition hidden below $$T_{m}$$.

### Most cited references42

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Glasses are disordered materials that lack the periodicity of crystals but behave mechanically like solids. The most common way of making a glass is by cooling a viscous liquid fast enough to avoid crystallization. Although this route to the vitreous state-supercooling-has been known for millennia, the molecular processes by which liquids acquire amorphous rigidity upon cooling are not fully understood. Here we discuss current theoretical knowledge of the manner in which intermolecular forces give rise to complex behaviour in supercooled liquids and glasses. An intriguing aspect of this behaviour is the apparent connection between dynamics and thermodynamics. The multidimensional potential energy surface as a function of particle coordinates (the energy landscape) offers a convenient viewpoint for the analysis and interpretation of supercooling and glass-formation phenomena. That much of this analysis is at present largely qualitative reflects the fact that precise computations of how viscous liquids sample their landscape have become possible only recently.
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Glasses can be formed by many routes. In some cases, distinct polyamorphic forms are found. The normal mode of glass formation is cooling of a viscous liquid. Liquid behavior during cooling is classified between "strong" and "fragile," and the three canonical characteristics of relaxing liquids are correlated through the fragility. Strong liquids become fragile liquids on compression. In some cases, such conversions occur during cooling by a weak first-order transition. This behavior can be related to the polymorphism in a glass state through a recent simple modification of the van der Waals model for tetrahedrally bonded liquids. The sudden loss of some liquid degrees of freedom through such first-order transitions is suggestive of the polyamorphic transition between native and denatured hydrated proteins, which can be interpreted as single-chain glass-forming polymers plasticized by water and cross-linked by hydrogen bonds. The onset of a sharp change in d dT( is the Debye-Waller factor and T is temperature) in proteins, which is controversially indentified with the glass transition in liquids, is shown to be general for glass formers and observable in computer simulations of strong and fragile ionic liquids, where it proves to be close to the experimental glass transition temperature. The latter may originate in strong anharmonicity in modes ("bosons"), which permits the system to access multiple minima of its configuration space. These modes, the Kauzmann temperature T(K), and the fragility of the liquid, may thus be connected.
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(2007)
Phase-change materials are some of the most promising materials for data-storage applications. They are already used in rewriteable optical data storage and offer great potential as an emerging non-volatile electronic memory. This review looks at the unique property combination that characterizes phase-change materials. The crystalline state often shows an octahedral-like atomic arrangement, frequently accompanied by pronounced lattice distortions and huge vacancy concentrations. This can be attributed to the chemical bonding in phase-change alloys, which is promoted by p-orbitals. From this insight, phase-change alloys with desired properties can be designed. This is demonstrated for the optical properties of phase-change alloys, in particular the contrast between the amorphous and crystalline states. The origin of the fast crystallization kinetics is also discussed.
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### Author and article information

###### Journal
03 May 2018
1805.01546