Thickness-dependent structural phase transition of strained SrRuO 3 ultrathin films: The role of octahedral tilt

Seo Hyoung Chang, Young Jun Chang, S. Y. Jang, D. W. Jeong, C. U. Jung, Y. J. Kim, J. S. Chung, T. W. Noh

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Abstract

We grew epitaxial SrRuO3 (SRO) films on SrTiO3 (STO) (001) substrates with SRO layer thicknesses (t) between 10 and 200 pseudocubic unit cells (uc). Using the square net of the cubic STO surface, we were able to epi-stabilize the tetragonal SRO phase at room temperature for ultrathin films with t ≤ 17 uc. On the other hand thicker films with t ≥ 19 uc have an orthorhombic crystal structure similar to that of bulk SRO at room temperature. With increasing temperature, the orthorhombic films undergo a structural transition to the tetragonal phase at TOT. The value of T OT and the orthorhombicity factor at room temperature are reduced with decreasing film thickness. We also observed half-order Bragg reflections, indicating that the tetragonal structure arises from the suppression of the tilt angle of RuO6 octahedra. The observed critical thickness around tc ∼ 18 uc is much larger than the recent theoretical prediction (i.e., less than 2 uc). This work thus demonstrates that the lattice symmetry mismatch at the interface plays an important role in determining the structural properties of perovskite films.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104101
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume84
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2011

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