Effect of Ion Irradiation on Amorphous and Crystalline Ge–Se and Their Application as Phase Change Temperature Sensor

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Research on phase change materials is predominantly focused on their application as memory devices or for temperature control which requires low phase change temperature. The Ge–Se binary chalcogenide glass system with its wide glass-forming region is a potential candidate for high-temperature and high-radiation phase change applications. Herein, the concept of employing GexSe100−x glasses to monitor high temperature (450–528 °C) using the phase change effect, is reported. Materials selection, device structure, and performance of prototype sensors are analyzed. In addition, the effect of heavy ion irradiation by Xe ions with energies of 200, 600, and 1000 keV (fluence ≈1014 cm−2) on the GexSe100−x (x = 30, 33, 40) thin films and phase change devices is studied. The irradiation effect on the amorphous and crystalline structure of the thin films is evaluated by Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Although the changes in the structural units of amorphous films are negligible, in crystalline films orthorhombic-GeSe2 crystals are found to be most affected by irradiation and a new phase, orthorhombic GeSe is found in the thin films after irradiation. The performance of a sensor with an active film of Ge40Se60 is also shown as an example.