"Visualizing the interfacial evolution from charge compensation to metallic screening across the manganite metal–insulator transition"

Julia A. Mundy: Yasuyuki Hikita, Takeaki Hidaka, Takeaki Yajima, Takuya Higuchi, Harold Y. Hwang, David A. Muller & Lena F. Kourkoutis; Nature Communications, 03/17/14.

Additional Authors: Yasuyuki Hikita, Takeaki Hidaka, Takeaki Yajima, Takuya Higuchi, Harold Y. Hwang, David A. Muller & Lena F. Kourkoutis

Abstract:

Electronic changes at polar interfaces between transition metal oxides offer the tantalizing possibility to stabilize novel ground states yet can also cause unintended reconstructions in devices. The nature of these interfacial reconstructions should be qualitatively different for metallic and insulating films as the electrostatic boundary conditions and compensation mechanisms are distinct. Here we directly quantify with atomic-resolution the charge distribution for manganite–titanate interfaces traversing the metal–insulator transition. By measuring the concentration and valence of the cations, we find an intrinsic interfacial electronic reconstruction in the insulating films. The total charge observed for the insulating manganite films quantitatively agrees with that needed to cancel the polar catastrophe. As the manganite becomes metallic with increased hole doping, the total charge build-up and its spatial range drop substantially. Direct quantification of the intrinsic charge transfer and spatial width should lay the framework for devices harnessing these unique electronic phases.