Phase-change kinetics, structure evolution and feasibility to phase-change memory (PCM) of Ag2In7Sb64Te27 (AIST) and its nanocomposite comprised of 85 wt.% AIST and 15 wt.% SiO2 were presented. In-situ heating x-ray diffraction (XRD) indicated nanocomposite transforms from amorphous to HCP structure during heating and incorporation of SiO2 increases the recrystallization temperature (Tx) of samples (189°C for AIST and 223°C for nanocomposite). XRD and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses both revealed the grain refinement in nanocomposite. Kissinger's analysis found the increase of activation energy (Ea) of phase transition in nanocomposite, denoting the SiO2 embedment restrains the grain growth of AIST during recrystallization. Johnson-Mehl-Avrami (JMA) theory revealed the decrease of Avrami exponent (n), indicating that the phase transition is prone to be heterogeneous since the dispersed SiO2 particles may provide additional nucleation sites.
Static I–V measurement indicated that the switching threshold voltage (Vth) of nanocomposite device (1.65 V) is higher than that of the AIST device (1.10 V). Increase of dynamic resistance in nanocomposite device leads to the reduction of writing current. I–V analysis also confirmed the retardation of recrystallization in AIST due to the incorporation of SiO2 and the rise of Ea is able to enhance the thermal stability of amorphous state in PCM devices.