skip to main content


Title: Enhancing superconductivity in SrTiO 3 films with strain
The nature of superconductivity in SrTiO 3 , the first oxide superconductor to be discovered, remains a subject of intense debate several decades after its discovery. SrTiO 3 is also an incipient ferroelectric, and several recent theoretical studies have suggested that the two properties may be linked. To investigate whether such a connection exists, we grew strained, epitaxial SrTiO 3 films, which are known to undergo a ferroelectric transition. We show that, for a range of carrier densities, the superconducting transition temperature is enhanced by up to a factor of two compared to unstrained films grown under the same conditions. Moreover, for these films, superconductivity emerges from a resistive state. We discuss the localization behavior in the context of proximity to ferroelectricity. The results point to new opportunities to enhance superconducting transition temperatures in oxide materials.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1740213 1729489
NSF-PAR ID:
10107716
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Volume:
5
Issue:
4
ISSN:
2375-2548
Page Range / eLocation ID:
eaaw0120
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The mechanism of unconventional superconductivity in correlated materials remains a great challenge in condensed matter physics. The recent discovery of superconductivity in infinite-layer nickelates, as an analog to high-Tccuprates, has opened a new route to tackle this challenge. By growing 8 nm Pr0.8Sr0.2NiO2films on the (LaAlO3)0.3(Sr2AlTaO6)0.7substrate, we successfully raise the superconducting onset transition temperatureTcin the widely studied SrTiO3-substrated nickelates from 9 K into 15 K, which indicates compressive strain is an efficient protocol to further enhance superconductivity in infinite-layer nickelates. Additionally, the x-ray absorption spectroscopy, combined with the first-principles and many-body simulations, suggest a crucial role of the hybridization between Ni and O orbitals in the unconventional pairing. These results also suggest the increase ofTcbe driven by the change of charge-transfer nature that would narrow the origin of general unconventional superconductivity in correlated materials to the covalence of transition metals and ligands.

     
    more » « less
  2. Chromium-doped SrTiO 3 nanocrystals of perovskite structure type and 45 nm (±15 nm) edge lengths were obtained by hydrothermal synthesis in water from titanium oxide, strontium hydroxide, and chromium( iii ) nitrate. According to XPS, the majority of the surface chromium (68.3%) is present in the 3+ state and the remainder (32.2%) in the 6+ state. Optical spectroscopy confirms a broad absorption at 2.3–2.9 eV from Cr(3+) dopant states, in addition to the 3.2 eV band edge of the SrTiO 3 host. After modification with Pt nanoparticles, Cr-doped SrTiO 3 nanocrystals catalyze photochemical H 2 evolution from aqueous methanol under visible light illumination (>400 nm) and with an apparent quantum yield of 0.66% at 435 nm. According to surface photovoltage spectroscopy (SPS), Cr-doped SrTiO 3 nanocrystals deposited onto gold substrates are n-type and have an effective band gap of 1.75 eV. SPS and transient illumination experiments at 2.50 eV reveal an anomalous surface photovoltage that increases with prior light exposure to values of up to −6.3 V. This photovoltage is assigned to ferroelectric polarization of the material in the space charge layer at the Au/SrTiO 3 :Cr interface. The polarization is stable for 24 h in vacuum but disappears after 12 h when samples are stored in air. The electric polarizability of SrTiO 3 :Cr is confirmed when films are exposed to static electric fields (1.20 MV m −1 ) in a fixed capacitor configuration. The discovery of a ferroelectric effect in Cr-doped SrTiO 3 could be significant for the development of improved photocatalysts for the conversion of solar energy into fuel. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Quantum ground states that arise at atomically controlled oxide interfaces provide an opportunity to address key questions in condensed matter physics, including the nature of two-dimensional metallic behaviour often observed adjacent to superconductivity. At the superconducting LaAlO3/SrTiO3interface, a metallic ground state emerges upon the collapse of superconductivity with field-effect gating and is accompanied with a pseudogap. Here we utilize independent control of carrier density and disorder of the interfacial superconductor using dual electrostatic gates, which enables the comprehensive examination of the electronic phase diagram approaching zero temperature. We find that the pseudogap corresponds to precursor pairing, and the onset of long-range phase coherence forms a two-dimensional superconducting dome as a function of the dual-gate voltages. The gate-tuned superconductor–metal transitions are driven by macroscopic phase fluctuations of Josephson coupled superconducting puddles.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    The hafnate perovskites PbHfO3(antiferroelectric) and SrHfO3(“potential” ferroelectric) are studied as epitaxial thin films on SrTiO3(001) substrates with the added opportunity of observing a morphotropic phase boundary (MPB) in the Pb1−xSrxHfO3system. The resulting (240)‐oriented PbHfO3(Pba2) films exhibited antiferroelectric switching with a saturation polarization ≈53 µC cm−2at 1.6 MV cm−1, weak‐field dielectric constant ≈186 at 298 K, and an antiferroelectric‐to‐paraelectric phase transition at ≈518 K. (002)‐oriented SrHfO3films exhibited neither ferroelectric behavior nor evidence of a polarP4mmphase . Instead, the SrHfO3films exhibited a weak‐field dielectric constant ≈25 at 298 K and no signs of a structural transition to a polar phase as a function of temperature (77–623 K) and electric field (–3 to 3 MV cm−1). While the lack of ferroelectric order in SrHfO3removes the potential for MPB, structural and property evolution of the Pb1−xSrxHfO3(0 ≤x < 1) system is explored. Strontium alloying increased the electric‐breakdown strength (EB) and decreased hysteresis loss, thus enhancing the capacitive energy storage density (Ur) and efficiency (η). The composition, Pb0.5Sr0.5HfO3produced the best combination ofEB = 5.12 ± 0.5 MV cm−1,Ur = 77 ± 5 J cm−3, and η = 97 ± 2%, well out‐performing PbHfO3and other antiferroelectric oxides.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Strongly correlated electronic systems exhibit a wealth of unconventional behavior stemming from strong electron-electron interactions. The LaAlO3/SrTiO3(LAO/STO) heterostructure supports rich and varied low-temperature transport characteristics including low-density superconductivity, and electron pairing without superconductivity for which the microscopic origins is still not understood. LAO/STO also exhibits inexplicable signatures of electronic nematicity via nonlinear and anomalous Hall effects. Nanoscale control over the conductivity of the LAO/STO interface enables mesoscopic experiments that can probe these effects and address their microscopic origins. Here we report a direct correlation between electron pairing without superconductivity, anomalous Hall effect and electronic nematicity in quasi-1D ballistic nanoscale LAO/STO Hall crosses. The characteristic magnetic field at which the Hall coefficient changes directly coincides with the depairing of non-superconducting pairs showing a strong correlation between the two distinct phenomena. Angle-dependent Hall measurements further reveal an onset of electronic nematicity that again coincides with the electron pairing transition, unveiling a rotational symmetry breaking due to the transition from paired to unpaired phases at the interface. The results presented here highlights the influence of preformed electron pairs on the transport properties of LAO/STO and provide evidence of the elusive pairing “glue” that gives rise to electron pairing in SrTiO3-based systems.

     
    more » « less