Two-dimensional electron systems in perovskite oxide heterostructures: Role of the polarity-induced substitutional defects

Shih-Chieh Lin, Cheng-Tai Kuo* (Corresponding Author), Yu-Cheng Shao, Yi-De Chuang, J. Geessinck, M. Huijben, Jean-Pascal Rueff, Ismael L. Graff, Giuseppina Conti, Yingying Peng, A. Bostwick, E. Rotenberg, E. Gullikson, Slavomir Nemsak, Arturas Vailionis, Nicolas Cédric Gauquelin, Johan Verbeeck, G. Ghiringhelli, C.M. Schneider, C.S. Fadley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The discovery of a two-dimensional electron system (2DES) at the interfaces of perovskite oxides such as LaAlO3 and SrTiO3 has motivated enormous efforts in engineering interfacial functionalities with this type of oxide heterostructures. However, the fundamental origins of the 2DES are still not understood, e.g., the microscopic mechanisms of coexisting interface conductivity and magnetism. Here we report a comprehensive spectroscopic investigation on the depth profile of 2DES-relevant Ti3d interface carriers using depth- and element-specific techniques like standing-wave excited photoemission and resonant inelastic scattering. We found that one type of Ti 3d interface carriers, which give rise to the 2DES are located within three unit cells from the n-type interface in the SrTiO3 layer. Unexpectedly, another type of interface carriers, which are polarity-induced Ti-on-Al antisite defects, reside in the first three unit cells of the opposing LaAlO3 layer (∼10 Å). Our findings provide a microscopic picture of how the localized and mobile Ti 3d interface carriers distribute across the interface and suggest that the 2DES and 2D magnetism at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface have disparate explanations as originating from different types of interface carriers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115002
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2020


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