Direct structural and spectroscopic investigation of ultrathin films of tetragonal CuO: Six-fold coordinated copper

D. Samal, H. Tan, Y. Takamura, W. Siemons, J. Verbeeck, G. van Tendeloo, E. Arenholz, A. Jenkins, Guus Rijnders, Gertjan Koster

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Unlike other 3d transition metal monoxides (MnO, FeO, CoO, and NiO), CuO is found in a low-symmetry distorted monoclinic structure rather than the rocksalt structure. We report here of the growth of ultrathin CuO films on SrTiO3 substrates; scanning transmission electron microscopy was used to show the stabilization of a tetragonal rocksalt structure with an elongated c-axis such that $c/a{\sim}1.34$ and the Cu-O-Cu bond angle ${\sim}180^{\circ}$ , pointing to metastable six-fold coordinated Cu. X-ray absorption spectroscopy demonstrates that the hole at the Cu site for the CuO is localized in $3d_{x^{2}-y^{2}}$ orbital unlike the well-studied monoclinic CuO phase. The experimental confirmation of the tetragonal structure of CuO opens up new avenues to explore electronic and magnetic properties of six-fold coordinated Cu.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17003
Number of pages5
JournalEurophysics letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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