4 years ago

Tuning Up or Down the Critical Thickness in LaAlO3/SrTiO3 through In Situ Deposition of Metal Overlayers

Tuning Up or Down the Critical Thickness in LaAlO3/SrTiO3 through In Situ Deposition of Metal Overlayers
Edouard Lesne, Anke Sander, Manuel Bibes, Eric Jacquet, Hiroshi Naganuma, Jacobo Santamaria, Diogo Castro Vaz, Agnès Barthélémy
The quasi 2D electron system (q2DES) that forms at the interface between LaAlO3 and SrTiO3 has attracted much attention from the oxide electronics community. One of its hallmark features is the existence of a critical LaAlO3 thickness of 4 unit-cells (uc) for interfacial conductivity to emerge. In this paper, the chemical, electronic, and transport properties of LaAlO3/SrTiO3 samples capped with different metals grown in a system combining pulsed laser deposition, sputtering, and in situ X-ray photoemission spectroscopy are investigated. The results show that for metals with low work function a q2DES forms at 1–2 uc of LaAlO3 and is accompanied by a partial oxidation of the metal, a phenomenon that affects the q2DES properties and triggers the formation of defects. In contrast, for noble metals, the critical thickness is increased above 4 uc. The results are discussed in terms of a hybrid mechanism that incorporates electrostatic and chemical effects. The possibility to tune up or down the critical thickness at which a 2D electron gas appears at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface, by capping the LaAlO3 with different metals is demonstrated. Besides electrostatic effects, X-ray photoemission spectroscopy reveals the importance of the partial oxidation of the metal on the properties of the gas.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/adma.201700486

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