Disentanglement of growth dynamic and thermodynamic effects in LaAlO3/SrTiO3 heterostructures

Chencheng Xu*, Christoph Bäumer, Ronja Anika Heinen, Susanne Hoffmann-Eifert, Felix Gunkel, Regina Dittmann

*Corresponding author for this work

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The influence of non-equilibrium and equilibrium processes during growth of LaAlO3 /SrTiO3 (LAO/STO) heterostructures is analyzed. We investigate the electronic properties of LAO/STO heterostructures obtained at constant growth conditions after annealing in different oxygen atmospheres within the typical growth window (1 × 10-4 mbar -1 × 10-2 mbar). The variation of annealing conditions is found to cause a similar change of electronic properties as observed for samples grown in different oxygen pressure. The results indicate that equilibrium defect formation is the dominant process for establishing the properties of the two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG), while growth dynamics play a minor role in the typical LAO/STO growth regime. Furthermore, the effects of non-equilibrium processes occurring during growth are investigated in detail by quenching just-grown LAO/STO heterostructures directly after growth. We show that during growth the sample is pushed into a non-equilibrium state. After growth, the sample then relaxes towards equilibrium, while the relaxation rate strongly depends on the ambient pressure. The observed relaxation behavior is mainly associated with a reoxidation of the STO bulk, while the 2DEG is formed immediately after the growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22410
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

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