Secor, J.; Harris, M.A.; Zhao, L.; Deng, H.; Raoux, S.; Krusin-Elbaum, L.: Phonon renormalization and Raman spectral evolution through amorphous to crystalline transitions in Sb2Te3 thin films. Applied Physics Letters 104 (2014), p. 221908/1-4

A symmetry specific phonon mode renormalization is observed across an amorphous to crystalline phase transformation in thin films of the topological material Sb2Te3 using Raman spectroscopy. We present evidence for local crystalline symmetry in the amorphous state, eventhough, the q¼0 Raman selection rule is broken due to strong structural disorder. At crystallization, the in-plane polarized E2g mode abruptly sharpens while the out-of-plane polarized (A1g) modes are only weakly effected. This effect unique to the Eg symmetry is exceptional considering that polarized spectra and comparison of the single phonon density of states between the amorphous and crystalline phases suggest that short range order of the amorphous phase is, on the average, similar to that of the crystalline material while electrical transport measurements reveal a sharp insulator-to-metal transition. Our findings point to the important role of anisotropic disorder affecting potential applications of topological and phase-change based electronics.