Atomic scale characterization of complex oxide interfaces
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Complex oxides exhibit the most disparate behaviors, from ferroelectricity to high Tc superconductivity, colossal magnetoresistance to insulating properties. For these reasons, oxide thin films are of interest for electronics and the emerging field of spintronics. But epitaxial complex oxide ultrathin films and heterostructures can be significantly affected or even dominated by the presence of interfaces and may exhibit intriguing new physical properties quite different from the bulk. A study of the relations between structure and chemistry at the atomic scale is needed to understand the macroscopic properties of such “interface-controlled” materials. For this purpose, the combination of aberration-corrected Z-contrast scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) represents a very powerful tool. The availability of sub-Ångström probes allows a level of unprecedented detail when analyzing not only the interface structure with sensitivity to single atoms, but also the interface chemistry. In this work state of the art STEM-EELS will be applied to the study of different oxide interfaces in heterostructures with titanates, manganites and cuprates based on the perovskite structure.
KeywordsMnO2 Manganite Scan Transmission Electron Microscopy Atomic Plane Charge Order
This research was sponsored by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program of ORNL, managed by UT-Batelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725. Financial support from the Spanish CICyT and the Fundacion Ramon Areces is acknowledged as well.