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Structural evolution of epitaxial SrCoOx
films near topotactic phase transition
1.H. Jeen, W. S. Choi, M. D. Biegalski, C. M. Folkman, I. C. Tung, D. D. Fong, J. W. Freeland, D. Shin, H. Ohta, M. F. Chisholm, and H. N. Lee, Nature Mater. 12, 1057 (2013).
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5.K. H. L. Zhang, P. V. Sushko, R. Colby, Y. Du, M. E. Bowden, and S. A. Chambers, Nat. Commun. 5 (2014).
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Control of oxygen stoichiometry in complex oxides via topotactic phase transition is an interesting avenue to not only modifying the physical properties, but utilizing in many energy technologies, such as energy storage and catalysts. However, detailed structural evolution in the close proximity of the topotactic phase transition in multivalent oxides has not been much studied. In this work, we used strontium cobaltites (SrCoOx) epitaxially grown by pulsed laser epitaxy (PLE) as a model system to study the oxidation-driven evolution of the structure, electronic, and magnetic properties. We grew coherently strained SrCoO2.5thin films and performed post-annealing at various temperatures for topotactic conversion into the perovskite phase (SrCoO3-δ). We clearly observed significant changes in electronic transport, magnetism, and microstructure near the critical temperature for the topotactic transformation from the brownmillerite to the perovskite phase. Nevertheless, the overall crystallinity was well maintained without much structural degradation, indicating that topotactic phase control can be a useful tool to control the physical properties repeatedly via redox reactions.
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