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Competing Misfit Relaxation Mechanisms in Epitaxial Correlated Oxides

13-03-2013 10-09-05

Felip Sandiumenge*, José Santiso, Lluís Balcells, Zorica Konstantinovic, Jaume Roqueta, Alberto Pomar, Juan Pedro Espinós, and Benjamín Martínez     

Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 107206 (2013)

 

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.107206

Strain engineering of functional properties in epitaxial thin films of strongly correlated oxides exhibiting octahedral-framework structures is hindered by the lack of adequate misfit relaxation models. Here we present unreported experimental evidence of a four-stage hierarchical development of octahedral-framework perturbations resulting from a progressive imbalance between electronic, elastic, and octahedral tilting energies in La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 epitaxial thin films grown on SrTiO3 substrates. Electronic softening of the Mn-O bonds near the substrate leads to the formation of an interfacial layer clamped to the substrate with strongly degraded magnetotransport properties, i.e., the so-called dead layer, while rigid octahedral tilts become relevant at advanced growth stages without significant effects on charge transport and magnetic ordering.
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