We have systematically investigated the spatial and temporal dynamics of crystallization that occur in the phase-change material Ge2Sb2Te5 upon irradiation with an intense terahertz (THz) pulse. THz-pump-optical-probe spectroscopy revealed that Zener tunneling induces a nonlinear increase in the conductivity of the crystalline phase. This fact causes the large enhancement of electric field associated with the THz pulses only at the edge of the crystallized area. The electric field concentrating in this area causes a temperature increase via Joule heating, which in turn leads to nanometer-scale crystal growth parallel to the field and the formation of filamentary conductive domains across the sample.
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