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Misfit Relaxation Mechanisms and Domain Ordering in Anisotropically Strained Manganite Thin Films

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journal contribution
posted on 09.09.2020, 18:06 by Zixun Zhang, Qiyuan Feng, Feng Jin, Zhizhen Yin, Caihong Xie, Liqiang Xu, Kexuan Zhang, Lili Qu, Guanyin Gao, Wenjie Meng, Yubin Hou, Feng Chen, Shaowei Jin, Qingyou Lu, Wenbin Wu
The evolution of anisotropic strain in epitaxial Pr0.5Sr0.5MnO3 films grown on (LaAlO3)0.3(SrAl0.5Ta0.5O3)0.7(110) substrates has been characterized by off-specular X-ray reciprocal space mappings on the (130), (310), (222), and (222̅) reflections in the scattering zone containing the [110] axis. We demonstrate that a multistage hierarchical structural evolution (single-domain-like structure, domain ordering, twin domains, and/or periodic structural modulations) occurs as the film thickness increases, and the structural modulation between the two transverse in-plane [11̅0] and [001] directions is quite different due to the monoclinic distortion of the film. We then show the relationship between the distribution of diffraction spots in reciprocal space and their corresponding domain configurations in real space under various thicknesses, which is closely correlated with thickness-dependent magnetic and magnetotransport properties. More importantly, the distribution and annihilation dynamics of the domain ordering are imaged utilizing home-built magnetic force microscope, revealing that the structural domains tilted toward either the [001] or [001̅] direction are arranged along the [11̅1] and [1̅11] crystal orientations. The direct visualization and dynamics of anisotropic-strain-related domain ordering will open a new path toward the control and manipulation of domain engineering in strongly correlated perovskite oxide films.