Breaking Lattice Symmetry in Highly Strained Epitaxial VO2 Films on Faceted Nanosurface
mediaposted on 2019-11-18, 16:34 authored by Yanda Ji, Zhimin Qi, Shikhar Misra, Rongqiang Jin, Xin Ou, Yuan Lin, Hao Yang, Haiyan Wang
The lattice symmetry of strongly correlated oxide heterostructures determines their exotic physical properties by coupling the degrees of freedom between lattices and electrons, orbitals, and spin states. Systematic studies on VO2, a Mott insulator, have previously revealed that lattice distortion can be manipulated by the interfacial strain and electronic phase separation can emerge. However, typical epitaxial film-substrate interface strain provides a very limited range for exploring such interface-engineered phenomena. Herein, epitaxially grown VO2 thin films on asymmetrically faceted m-plane sapphire substrates with the hill-and-valley type surfaces have been demonstrated. Interestingly, lattice symmetry breaking has been proven based on the large residual strain from the different faceted planes. By this lattice symmetry breaking, electronic phase separation and metal–insulator transition in the VO2 films are modulated, and anisotropy in optical responses is exhibited. These results on asymmetrical interfacial engineering in oxide heterostructures open up new routes for novel functional materials design and functional electro/optic device nanofabrication.