Prediction of thickness limits of ideal polar ultrathin films

Zhicheng Zhong, Gertjan Koster, Paul J. Kelly

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Competition between electronic and atomic reconstruction is a constantly recurring theme in transition-metal oxides. We use density functional theory calculations to study this competition for a model system consisting of a thin film of the polar, infinite-layer structure ACuO2 (A=Ca, Sr, Ba) grown on a nonpolar, perovskite SrTiO3 substrate. A transition from the bulk planar structure to a chain-type thin film accompanied by substantial changes to the electronic structure is predicted for a SrCuO2 film fewer than five unit cells thick. An analytical model explains why atomic reconstruction becomes more favorable than electronic reconstruction as the film becomes thinner, and suggests that similar considerations should be valid for other polar films.
Original languageUndefined
Article number121411
Pages (from-to)121411/1-121411/4
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review B: Condensed matter and materials physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • IR-81867
  • METIS-285449

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