American Chemical Society
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Insulator-to-Metal Transition of Cr2O3 Thin Films via Isovalent Ru3+ Substitution

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-06-10, 19:05 authored by Kohei Fujiwara, Miho Kitamura, Daisuke Shiga, Yasuhiro Niwa, Koji Horiba, Tsutomu Nojima, Hiromichi Ohta, Hiroshi Kumigashira, Atsushi Tsukazaki
In transition-metal oxides, the vast combinations of crystal structures and metal ions provide a fertile ground for tailoring their electronic properties. Using a thin-film growth technique creates an additional interface-related degree of freedom in the artificial heterostructures. However, in corundum-type and crystallographically related ternary compounds, the scarcity of oxides applicable to a lattice-matched electrode layer often impedes the electrical characterization of these heterostructures. Here, we report the synthesis of a thin film of a new corundum-type oxide that exhibits metallic conduction. By substituting Ru into the antiferromagnetic insulator Cr2O3 via pulsed laser deposition, we fabricated thin films of (Cr1–xRux)2O3 not known in bulk. The structural, electrical, and magnetic characterizations showed that the antiferromagnetic insulator became a paramagnetic metal at Ru contents x greater than approximately 0.40 while preserving the host corundum structure. Spectroscopic analyses revealed the formation of Ru 4d-derived bands at the Fermi level and the presence of Ru3+, which is a valence state of Ru rarely observed in oxides. The stabilization of the unusual Ru3+ state is attributed to the charge neutrality constraint in the robust Cr2O3-based framework as well as the kinetics-driven vacuum deposition process.