Two-Dimensional Electron Gas at the Spinel/Perovskite Interface: Suppression of Polar Catastrophe by an Ultrathin Layer of Interfacial Defects.

Junfeng Ding, Jianli Cheng, Fatih Dogan, Yangyang Li, Weinan Lin, Yingbang Yao, Aurelien Manchon, Kesong Yang, Tao Wu

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Abstract

Two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) at the interface between two insulating perovskite oxides has attracted much interest for both fundamental physics and potential applications. Here, we report the discovery of a new 2DEG formed at the interface between spinel MgAl2O4 and perovskite SrTiO3. Transport measurements, electron microscopy imaging, and first-principles calculations reveal that the interfacial 2DEG is closely related to the symmetry breaking at the MgAl2O4/SrTiO3 interface. The critical film thickness for the insulator-to-metal transition is approximately 32 Å, which is twice as thick as that reported on the widely studied LaAlO3/SrTiO3 system. Scanning transmission electron microscopy imaging indicates the formation of interfacial Ti-Al antisite defects with a thickness of ∼4 Å. First-principles density functional theory calculations indicate that the coexistence of the antisite defects and surface oxygen vacancies may explain the formation of interfacial 2DEG as well as the observed critical film thickness. The discovery of 2DEG at the spinel/perovskite interface introduces a new material platform for designing oxide interfaces with desired characteristics.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 25 2020

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