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Many complex oxides display an array of structural instabilities often tied to altered electronic behavior. For oxide heterostructures, several different interfacial effects can dramatically change the nature of these instabilities. Here, we investigate LaAlO/SrTiO (001) heterostructures using synchrotron x-ray scattering. We find that when cooling from high temperature, LaAlO transforms from the to the phase due to strain. Furthermore, the first 4 unit cells of the film adjacent to the substrate exhibit a gradient in rotation angle that can couple with polar displacements in films thinner than that necessary for 2D electron gas formation.


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