Volume 3, Issue 6, June 2015
- SPECIAL TOPIC: FRONTIERS IN OXIDES: PROPERTIES AND ELECTRONIC APPLICATIONS
- Invited Research Updates
3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4916926View Description Hide Description
Complex oxides are becoming engrained into modern technology. Understanding the growth and properties of these materials is extremely important for development of novel devices and optimization of existing technologies. Control of the growth of thin film oxides is essential to facilitate the fine-tuning of properties needed for device optimization. In this article, some recent advances in nanoscale engineering of functional oxides are summarized. Control of film structure through manipulation of growth kinetics and substrate considerations is discussed. The construction of composites and artificial materials is also considered. Furthermore, a future outlook is investigated including a route to industrial scale application.
3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4918965View Description Hide Description
Interface engineering of structural distortions is a key for exploring the functional properties of oxide heterostructures and superlattices. In this paper, we report on our comprehensive investigations of oxygen octahedral distortions at the heterointerface between perovskite oxides SrRuO3 and BaTiO3 on GdScO3 substrates and of the influences of the interfacially engineered distortions on the magneto-transport properties of the SrRuO3 layer. Our state-of-the-art annular bright-field imaging in aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy revealed that the RuO6 octahedral distortions in the SrRuO3 layer have strong dependence on the stacking order of the SrRuO3 and BaTiO3 layers on the substrate. This can be attributed to the difference in the interfacial octahedral connections. We also found that the stacking order of the oxide layers has a strong impact on the magneto-transport properties, allowing for control of the magnetic anisotropy of the SrRuO3 layer through interface engineering. Our results demonstrate the significance of the interface engineering of the octahedral distortions on the structural and physical properties of perovskite oxides.
- Invited Perspectives
3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4917283View Description Hide Description
Chemical doping provides an effective method to control the electric properties of complex oxides. However, the state-of-art accuracy in controlling doping is limited to about 1%. This hampers elucidation of the precise doping dependences of physical properties and phenomena of interest, such as quantum phase transitions. Using the combinatorial molecular beam epitaxy, we improve the accuracy in tuning the doping level by two orders of magnitude. We illustrate this novel method by two examples: a systematic investigation of the doping dependence of interface superconductivity, and a study of the competing ground states in the vicinity of the insulator-to-superconductor transition.
- Invited Articles
3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4907877View Description Hide Description
Mixed-valence manganite thin films are attractive for spintronic devices. Crystalline orientation is a promising route to tailor switching mechanisms, as magnetization reversal depends on the magnetic anisotropy. Here, magnetic properties of (111)-oriented La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 thin films are elucidated by correlating macroscopic and local properties. The coercive field is an order of magnitude lower than (001)-oriented La0.7Sr0.3MnO3. Locally, a 6-fold magnetic anisotropy is observed, while macroscopically, an isotropic response is prevailing. This local coupling between the symmetry of the (111)-facet and magnetization governs the domain reversal process, demonstrating that symmetry offers a route to control magnetic properties for spintronic devices.
3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4916098View Description Hide Description
We report the development and characterization of graphene/LaAlO3/SrTiO3 heterostructures. Complex-oxide heterostructures are created by pulsed laser deposition and are integrated with graphene using both mechanical exfoliation and transfer from chemical-vapor deposition on ultraflat copper substrates. Nanoscale control of the metal-insulator transition at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface, achieved using conductive atomic force microscope lithography, is demonstrated to be possible through the graphene layer. LaAlO3/SrTiO3-based electric field effects using a graphene top gate are also demonstrated. The ability to create functional field-effect devices provides the potential of graphene-complex-oxide heterostructures for scientific and technological advancement.
3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4907771View Description Hide Description
We report on tunneling measurements that reveal the evolution of the quasiparticle state density in two rare earth perovskite nickelates, NdNiO3 and LaNiO3, that are close to a bandwidth controlled metal to insulator transition. We measure the opening of a sharp gap of ∼30 meV in NdNiO3 in its insulating ground state. LaNiO3, which remains a correlated metal at all practical temperatures, exhibits a pseudogap of the same order. The results point to both types of gaps arising from a common origin, namely, a quantum critical point associated with the T = 0 K metal-insulator transition. The results support theoretical models of the quantum phase transition in terms of spin and charge instabilities of an itinerant Fermi surface.
Enhanced electrical and magnetic properties in La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 thin films deposited on CaTiO3-buffered silicon substrates3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4915486View Description Hide Description
We investigate the suitability of an epitaxial CaTiO3 buffer layer deposited onto (100) Si by reactive molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) for the epitaxial integration of the colossal magnetoresistive material La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 with silicon. The magnetic and electrical properties of La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 films deposited by MBE on CaTiO3-buffered silicon (CaTiO3/Si) are compared with those deposited on SrTiO3-buffered silicon (SrTiO3/Si). In addition to possessing a higher Curie temperature and a higher metal-to-insulator transition temperature, the electrical resistivity and 1/f noise level at 300 K are reduced by a factor of two in the heterostructure with the CaTiO3 buffer layer. These results are relevant to device applications of La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 thin films on silicon substrates.
- Contributed Articles
3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4915491View Description Hide Description
We used depth-resolved cathodoluminescence spectroscopy and surface photovoltage spectroscopy to measure the densities, energy levels, and spatial distributions of zinc/magnesium cation and oxygen vacancies in isostructural, single-phase, non-polar Mg x Zn 1−xO alloys over a wide (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.56) range. Within this wide range, both defect types exhibit strong Mg content-dependent surface segregation and pronounced bulk density minima corresponding to unit cell volume minima, which can inhibit defect formation due to electrostatic repulsion. Mg in ZnO significantly reduces native defect densities and their non-polar surface segregation, both major factors in carrier transport and doping of these oxide semiconductors.
3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4916586View Description Hide Description
Electron transport in Sb-doped SnO2 (ATO) films is studied to unveil the limited carrier mobility observed in sputtered films as compared to other deposition methods. Transparent and conductive ATO layers are deposited from metallic tin targets alloyed with antimony in oxygen atmosphere optimized for reactive sputtering. The carrier mobility decreases from 24 cm2 V−1 s−1 to 6 cm2 V−1 s−1 when increasing the doping level from 0 to 7 at. %, and the lowest resistivity of 1.8 × 10−3 Ω cm corresponding to the mobility of 12 cm2 V−1 s−1 which is obtained for the 3 at. % Sb-doped ATO. Temperature-dependent Hall effect measurements and near-infrared reflectance measurements reveal that the carrier mobility in sputtered ATO is limited by ingrain scattering. In contrast, the mobility of unintentionally doped SnO2 films is determined mostly by the grain boundary scattering. Both limitations should arise from the sputtering process itself, which suffers from the high-energy-ion bombardment and yields polycrystalline films with small grain size.
Highly transparent conductive electrode with ultra-low HAZE by grain boundary modification of aqueous solution fabricated alumina-doped zinc oxide nanocrystals3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4915489View Description Hide Description
Commercial production of transparent conducting oxide (TCO) polycrystalline films requires high electrical conductivity with minimal degradation in optical transparency. Aqueous solution deposited TCO films would reduce production costs of TCO films but suffer from low electrical mobility, which severely degrades both electrical conductivity and optical transparency in the visible spectrum. Here, we demonstrated that grain boundary modification by ultra-violet laser crystallization (UVLC) of solution deposited aluminium-doped zinc oxide (AZO) nanocrystals results in high Hall mobility, with a corresponding dramatic improvement in AZO electrical conductance. The AZO films after laser irradiation exhibit electrical mobility up to 18.1 cm2 V−1 s−1 with corresponding electrical resistivity and sheet resistances as low as 1 × 10−3 Ω cm and 75 Ω/sq, respectively. The high mobility also enabled a high transmittance (T) of 88%-96% at 550 nm for the UVLC films. In addition, HAZE measurement shows AZO film scattering transmittance as low as 1.8%, which is superior over most other solution deposited transparent electrode alternatives such as silver nanowires. Thus, AZO films produced by the UVLC technique have a combined figure of merit for electrical conductivity, optical transparency, and optical HAZE higher than other solution based deposition techniques and comparable to vacuumed based deposition methods.
Operational stability of solution based zinc tin oxide/SiO2 thin film transistors under gate bias stress3(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4919057View Description Hide Description
In this study, we report solution-processed amorphous zinc tin oxide transistors exhibiting high operational stability under positive gate bias stress, translated by a recoverable threshold voltage shift of about 20% of total applied stress voltage. Under vacuum condition, the threshold voltage shift saturates showing that the gate-bias stress is limited by trap exhaustion or balance between trap filling and emptying mechanism. In ambient atmosphere, the threshold voltage shift no longer saturates, stability is degraded and the recovering process is impeded. We suggest that the trapping time during the stress and detrapping time in recovering are affected by oxygen adsorption/desorption processes. The time constants extracted from stretched exponential fitting curves are ≈106 s and 105 s in vacuum and air, respectively.