Built-in and induced polarization across LaAlO 3 /SrTiO 3 heterojunctions

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Journal Article




Ionic crystals terminated at oppositely charged polar surfaces are inherently unstable and expected to undergo surface reconstructions to maintain electrostatic stability. Essentially, an electric field that arises between oppositely charged atomic planes gives rise to a built-in potential that diverges with thickness. Here we present evidence of such a built-in potential across polar LaAlO 3 thin films grown on SrTiO 3 substrates, a system well known for the electron gas that forms at the interface. By carrying out tunnelling measurements between the electron gas and metallic electrodes on LaAlO 3 we measure a built-in electric field across LaAlO 3 of 80.1 meV Å -1 . In addition, capacitance measurements reveal the presence of an induced dipole moment across the heterostructure. We foresee use of the ionic built-in potential as an additional tuning parameter in both existing and future device architectures, especially as atomic control of oxide interfaces gains widespread momentum. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Nature Physics



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