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Avoiding polar catastrophe in the growth of polarly orientated nickel perovskite thin films by reactive oxide molecular beam epitaxy
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By means of the state-of-the-art reactive oxide molecular beam epitaxy, we synthesized (001)- and (111)-orientated polar LaNiO3
thin films. In order to avoid the interfacial reconstructions induced by polar catastrophe, screening metallic Nb-doped SrTiO3 and iso-polarity LaAlO3 substrates were chosen to achieve high-quality (001)-orientated films in a layer-by-layer growth mode. For largely polar (111)-orientated films, we showed that iso-polarity LaAlO3 (111) substrate was more suitable than Nb-doped SrTiO3. In situ
reflection high-energy electron diffraction,
ex situ high-resolution X-ray diffraction, and atomic force microscopy were used to characterize these films. Our results show that special attentions need to be paid to grow high-quality oxide films with polar orientations, which can prompt the explorations of all-oxide electronics and artificial interfacial engineering to pursue intriguing emergent physics like proposed interfacial superconductivity and topological phases in LaNiO3 based superlattices.
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