Novel Sn-Based Contact Structure for GeTe Phase Change Materials

Hamed Simchi, Kayla A. Cooley, Zelong Ding, Alex Molina, Suzanne E. Mohney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Germanium telluride (GeTe) is a phase change material (PCM) that has gained recent attention because of its incorporation as an active material for radio frequency (RF) switches, as well as memory and novel optoelectronic devices. Considering PCM-based RF switches, parasitic resistances from Ohmic contacts can be a limiting factor in device performance. Reduction of the contact resistance (Rc) is therefore critical for reducing the on-state resistance to meet the requirements of high-frequency RF applications. To engineer the Schottky barrier between the metal contact and GeTe, Sn was tested as an interesting candidate to alter the composition of the semiconductor near its surface, potentially forming a narrow band gap (0.2 eV) SnTe or a graded alloy with SnTe in GeTe. For this purpose, a novel contact stack of Sn/Fe/Au was employed and compared to a conventional Ti/Pt/Au stack. Two different premetallization surface treatments of HCl and deionized (DI) H2O were employed to make a Te-rich and Ge-rich interface, respectively. Contact resistance values were extracted using the refined transfer length method. The best results were obtained with DI H2O for the Sn-based contacts but HCl treatment for the Ti/Pt/Au contacts. The as-deposited contacts had the Rcc) of 0.006 ω·mm (8 × 10-9 ω·cm2) for Sn/Fe/Au and 0.010 ω·mm (3 × 10-8 ω·cm2) for Ti/Pt/Au. However, the Sn/Fe/Au contacts were thermally stable, and their resistance decreased further to 0.004 ω·mm (4 × 10-9 ω·cm2) after annealing at 200 °C. In contrast, the contact resistance of the Ti/Pt/Au stack increased to 0.012 ω·mm (4 × 10-8 ω·cm2). Transmission electron microscopy was used to characterize the interfacial reactions between the metals and GeTe. It was found that formation of SnTe at the interface, in addition to Fe diffusion (doping) into GeTe, is likely responsible for the superior performance of Sn/Fe/Au contacts, resulting in one of the lowest reported contact resistances on GeTe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16623-16627
Number of pages5
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 16 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


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