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Nanoscale ; 14(35): 12918-12927, 2022 Sep 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36043425


As a semiconductor ferroelectric, GeTe has become a focus of renewed attention due to the recent discovery of giant Rashba splitting. It already has a wide range of applications, from thermoelectricity to data storage. Its stability in ambient air, as well as the structure and properties of an oxide layer, define the processing media for device production and operation. Here, we studied a reaction between the GeTe (111) surface and molecular oxygen for crystals having solely inversion domains. We evaluated the reaction kinetics both ex situ and in situ using NAP XPS. The structure of the oxide layer is extensively discussed, where, according to HAADF-STEM and STEM-EDX, nanoscale phase separation of GeO2 and Te is observed, which is unusual for semiconductors. We believe that such behaviour is closely related to the ferroelectric properties and the domain structure of GeTe.

ACS Nano ; 2020 Nov 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33136362


Renewed interest in the ferroelectric semiconductor germanium telluride was recently triggered by the direct observation of a giant Rashba effect and a 30-year-old dream about a functional spin field-effect transistor. In this respect, all-electrical control of the spin texture in this material in combination with ferroelectric properties at the nanoscale would create advanced functionalities in spintronics and data information processing. Here, we investigate the atomic and electronic properties of GeTe bulk single crystals and their (111) surfaces. We succeeded in growing crystals possessing solely inversion domains of ∼10 nm thickness parallel to each other. Using HAADF-TEM we observe two types of domain boundaries, one of them being similar in structure to the van der Waals gap in layered materials. This structure is responsible for the formation of surface domains with preferential Te-termination (∼68%) as we determined using photoelectron diffraction and XPS. The lateral dimensions of the surface domains are in the range of ∼10-100 nm, and both Ge- and Te-terminations reveal no reconstruction. Using spin-ARPES we establish an intrinsic quantitative relationship between the spin polarization of pure bulk states and the relative contribution of different terminations, a result that is consistent with a reversal of the spin texture of the bulk Rashba bands for opposite configurations of the ferroelectric polarization within individual nanodomains. Our findings are important for potential applications of ferroelectric Rashba semiconductors in nonvolatile spintronic devices with advanced memory and computing capabilities at the nanoscale.

Acta Crystallogr B Struct Sci Cryst Eng Mater ; 75(Pt 4): 717-732, 2019 Aug 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32830728


Bi2Se3 is a thermoelectric material and a topological insulator. It is slightly conducting in its bulk due to the presence of defects and by controlling the defects different physical properties can be fine tuned. However, studies of the defects in this material are often contradicting or inconclusive. Here, the defect structure of Bi2Se3 is studied with a combination of techniques: high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (HR-STEM), high-resolution energy-dispersive X-ray (HR-EDX) spectroscopy, precession electron diffraction tomography (PEDT), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and first-principles calculations using density functional theory (DFT). Based on these results, not only the observed defects are discussed, but also the discrepancies in results or possibilities across the techniques. STEM and EDX revealed interstitial defects with mainly Bi character in an octahedral coordination in the van der Waals gap, independent of the applied sample preparation method (focused ion beam milling or cryo-crushing). The inherent character of these defects is supported by their observation in the structure refinement of the EDT data. Moreover, the occupancy probability of the defects determined by EDT is inversely proportional to their corresponding DFT calculated formation energies. STEM also showed the migration of some atoms across and along the van der Waals gap. The kinetic barriers calculated using DFT suggest that some paths are possible at room temperature, while others are most probably beam induced.

Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 19(45): 30520-30532, 2017 Nov 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29115310


To realize spintronic devices based on topological insulators (TIs), well-defined interfaces between magnetic metals and TIs are required. Here, we characterize atomically precisely the interface between the 3d transition metal Fe and the TI Bi2Te3 at different stages of its formation. Using photoelectron diffraction and holography, we show that after deposition of up to 3 monolayers Fe on Bi2Te3 at room temperature, the Fe atoms are ordered at the interface despite the surface disorder revealed by our scanning-tunneling microscopy images. We find that Fe occupies two different sites: a hollow adatom deeply relaxed into the Bi2Te3 quintuple layers and an interstitial atom between the third (Te) and fourth (Bi) atomic layers. For both sites, our core-level photoemission spectra and density-functional theory calculations demonstrate simultaneous chemical bonding of Fe to both Te and Bi atoms. We further show that upon deposition of Fe up to a thickness of 20 nm, the Fe atoms penetrate deeper into the bulk forming a 2-5 nm interface layer containing FeTe. In addition, excessive Bi is pushed down into the bulk of Bi2Te3 leading to the formation of septuple layers of Bi3Te4 within a distance of ∼25 nm from the interface. Controlling the magnetic properties of the complex interface structures revealed by our work will be of critical importance when optimizing the efficiency of spin injection in TI-based devices.