Chalcogenides: Metastability and Phase Change Phenomena: 2012

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A state-of-the-art description of metastability observed in chalcogenide alloys is presented with the accent on the underlying physics. A comparison is made between sulphur(selenium)-based chalcogenide glasses, where numerous photo-induced phenomena take place entirely within the amorphous phase, and tellurides where a reversible crystal-to-amorphous phase-change transformation is a major effect. Applications of metastability in devices' optical memories and nonvolatile electronic phase-change random-access memories among others are discussed, including the latest trends. Background material essential for understanding current research in the field is also provided.