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Atomic-Scale Measurement of Structure and Chemistry of a Single-Unit-Cell Layer of LaAlO3 Embedded in SrTiO3

  • Chun-Lin Jia (a1) (a2) (a3), Juri Barthel (a2) (a4), Felix Gunkel (a1), Regina Dittmann (a1), Susanne Hoffmann-Eifert (a1), Lothar Houben (a1) (a2), Markus Lentzen (a1) (a2) and Andreas Thust (a1) (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1431927612014407
  • Published online: 04 March 2013
Abstract
Abstract

A single layer of LaAlO3 with a nominal thickness of one unit cell, which is sandwiched between a SrTiO3 substrate and a SrTiO3 capping layer, is quantitatively investigated by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. By the use of an aberration-corrected electron microscope and by employing sophisticated numerical image simulation procedures, significant progress is made in two aspects. First, the structural as well as the chemical features of the interface are determined simultaneously on an atomic scale from the same specimen area. Second, the evaluation of the structural and chemical data is carried out in a fully quantitative way on the basis of the absolute image contrast, which has not been achieved so far in materials science investigations using high-resolution electron microscopy. Considering the strong influence of even subtle structural details on the electronic properties of interfaces in oxide materials, a fully quantitative interface analysis, which makes positional data available with picometer precision together with the related chemical information, can contribute to a better understanding of the functionality of such interfaces.

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*Corresponding author. E-mail: c.jia@fz-juelich.de, c.jia@mail.xjtu.edu.cn
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