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Oxygen Partial Pressure during Pulsed Laser Deposition: Deterministic Role on Thermodynamic Stability of Atomic Termination Sequence at SrRuO3/BaTiO3 Interface

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journal contribution
posted on 21.07.2017, 00:00 by Yeong Jae Shin, Lingfei Wang, Yoonkoo Kim, Ho-Hyun Nahm, Daesu Lee, Jeong Rae Kim, Sang Mo Yang, Jong-Gul Yoon, Jin-Seok Chung, Miyoung Kim, Seo Hyoung Chang, Tae Won Noh
With recent trends on miniaturizing oxide-based devices, the need for atomic-scale control of surface/interface structures by pulsed laser deposition (PLD) has increased. In particular, realizing uniform atomic termination at the surface/interface is highly desirable. However, a lack of understanding on the surface formation mechanism in PLD has limited a deliberate control of surface/interface atomic stacking sequences. Here, taking the prototypical SrRuO3/BaTiO3/SrRuO3 (SRO/BTO/SRO) heterostructure as a model system, we investigated the formation of different interfacial termination sequences (BaO–RuO2 or TiO2–SrO) with oxygen partial pressure (PO2) during PLD. We found that a uniform SrO–TiO2 termination sequence at the SRO/BTO interface can be achieved by lowering the PO2 to 5 mTorr, regardless of the total background gas pressure (Ptotal), growth mode, or growth rate. Our results indicate that the thermodynamic stability of the BTO surface at the low-energy kinetics stage of PLD can play an important role in surface/interface termination formation. This work paves the way for realizing termination engineering in functional oxide heterostructures.