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Adv Mater ; 34(24): e2200866, 2022 Jun.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35429184


Bulk SrTiO3 is a well-known band insulator and the most common substrate used in the field of complex oxide heterostructures. Its surface and interface with other oxides, however, have demonstrated a variety of remarkable behaviors distinct from those expected. In this work, using a suite of in situ techniques to monitor both the atomic and electronic structures of the SrTiO3 (001) surface prior to and during growth, the disappearance and re-appearance of a 2D electron gas (2DEG) is observed after the completion of each SrO and TiO2 monolayer, respectively. The 2DEG is identified with the TiO2 double layer present at the initial SrTiO3 surface, which gives rise to a surface potential and mobile electrons due to vacancies within the TiO2-x adlayer. Much like the electronic reconstruction discovered in other systems, two atomic planes are required, here supplied by the double layer. The combined in situ scattering/spectroscopy findings resolve a number of longstanding issues associated with complex oxide interfaces, facilitating the employment of atomic-scale defect engineering in oxide electronics.

Phys Rev Lett ; 123(9): 097601, 2019 Aug 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31524450


Complex systems, which consist of a large number of interacting constituents, often exhibit universal behavior near a phase transition. A slowdown of certain dynamical observables is one such recurring feature found in a vast array of contexts. This phenomenon, known as critical slowing-down, is well studied mostly in thermodynamic phase transitions. However, it is less understood in highly nonequilibrium settings, where the time it takes to traverse the phase boundary becomes comparable to the timescale of dynamical fluctuations. Using transient optical spectroscopy and femtosecond electron diffraction, we studied a photoinduced transition of a model charge-density-wave (CDW) compound LaTe_{3}. We observed that it takes the longest time to suppress the order parameter at the threshold photoexcitation density, where the CDW transiently vanishes. This finding can be captured by generalizing the time-dependent Landau theory to a system far from equilibrium. The experimental observation and theoretical understanding of dynamical slowing-down may offer insight into other general principles behind nonequilibrium phase transitions in many-body systems.

Sci Adv ; 5(4): eaav0764, 2019 Apr.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30993200


In traditional models of heteroepitaxy, the substrate serves mainly as a crystalline template for the thin-film lattice, dictating the initial roughness of the film and the degree of coherent strain. Here, performing in situ surface x-ray diffraction during the heteroepitaxial growth of LaTiO3 on SrTiO3 (001), we find that a TiO2 adlayer composed of the ( 13 × 13 ) R33.7° and ( 2 × 2 ) R45.0° reconstructions is a highly active participant in the growth process, continually diffusing to the surface throughout deposition. The effects of the TiO2 adlayer on layer-by-layer growth are investigated using different deposition sequences and anomalous x-ray scattering, both of which permit detailed insight into the dynamic layer rearrangements that take place. Our work challenges commonly held assumptions regarding growth on TiO2-terminated SrTiO3 (001) and demonstrates the critical role of excess TiO2 surface stoichiometry on the initial stages of heteroepitaxial growth on this important perovskite oxide substrate material.

Struct Dyn ; 6(1): 014502, 2019 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30868087


Due to the strong dependence of electronic properties on the local bonding environment, a full characterization of the structural dynamics in ultrafast experiments is critical. Here, we report the dynamics and structural refinement at nanosecond time scales of a perovskite thin film by combining optical excitation with time-resolved X-ray diffraction. This is achieved by monitoring the temporal response of both integer and half-integer diffraction peaks of LaVO3 in response to an above-band-gap 800 nm pump pulse. We find that the lattice expands by 0.1% out of plane, and the relaxation is characterized by a biexponential decay with 2 and 12 ns time scales. We analyze the relative intensity change in half-integer peaks and show that the distortions to the substructure are small: the oxygen octahedral rotation angles decrease by ∼0.3° and La displacements decrease by ∼0.2 pm, which directly corresponds to an ∼0.8° increase in the V-O-V bond-angles, an in-plane V-O bond length reduction of ∼0.3 pm, and an unchanged out-of-plane bond length. This demonstration of tracking the atomic positions in a pump-probe experiment provides experimentally accessible values for structural and electronic tunability in this class of materials and will stimulate future experiments.

Nano Lett ; 17(12): 7761-7766, 2017 12 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29119791


Modulation of weak interlayer interactions between quasi-two-dimensional atomic planes in the transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) provides avenues for tuning their functional properties. Here we show that above-gap optical excitation in the TMDCs leads to an unexpected large-amplitude, ultrafast compressive force between the two-dimensional layers, as probed by in situ measurements of the atomic layer spacing at femtosecond time resolution. We show that this compressive response arises from a dynamic modulation of the interlayer van der Waals interaction and that this represents the dominant light-induced stress at low excitation densities. A simple analytic model predicts the magnitude and carrier density dependence of the measured strains. This work establishes a new method for dynamic, nonequilibrium tuning of correlation-driven dispersive interactions and of the optomechanical functionality of TMDC quasi-two-dimensional materials.

Nat Mater ; 12(11): 1057-63, 2013 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23975056


Fast, reversible redox reactions in solids at low temperatures without thermomechanical degradation are a promising strategy for enhancing the overall performance and lifetime of many energy materials and devices. However, the robust nature of the cation's oxidation state and the high thermodynamic barrier have hindered the realization of fast catalysis and bulk diffusion at low temperatures. Here, we report a significant lowering of the redox temperature by epitaxial stabilization of strontium cobaltites (SrCoO(x)) grown directly as one of two distinct crystalline phases, either the perovskite SrCoO(3-δ) or the brownmillerite SrCoO(2.5). Importantly, these two phases can be reversibly switched at a remarkably reduced temperature (200-300 °C) in a considerably short time (< 1 min) without destroying the parent framework. The fast, low-temperature redox activity in SrCoO(3-δ) is attributed to a small Gibbs free-energy difference between two topotatic phases. Our findings thus provide useful information for developing highly sensitive electrochemical sensors and low-temperature cathode materials.