Results of inelastic neutron scattering experiments and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations for GeTe – the parent compound of phase-change materials are reported. The inelastic neutron spectra of GeTe powder samples have been determined in the temperature range extending from 300 to 700 K. The phonon peaks undergo thermal shifts resulting from anharmonic effects being weaker for acoustic than optic modes. A small concentration of free charge carries arising from the presence of Ge-vacancies was found not to affect significantly the neutron weighted phonon densities of states of GeTe. The spectral pattern changes qualitatively across the structural phase transition, but the local structure of GeTe remains hardly affected, as confirmed by the analysis of temperature dependence of the pairdistribution function obtained from ab initio molecular dynamics investigations. The present theoretical studies support in a wide extent our experimental observations and also those provided by local probe methods.
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