99 research outputs found

    Dimensionality Control of Electronic Phase Transitions in Nickel-Oxide Superlattices

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    The competition between collective quantum phases in materials with strongly correlated electrons depends sensitively on the dimensionality of the electron system, which is difficult to control by standard solid-state chemistry. We have fabricated superlattices of the paramagnetic metal LaNiO3 and the wide-gap insulator LaAlO3 with atomically precise layer sequences. Using optical ellipsometry and low-energy muon spin rotation, superlattices with LaNiO3 as thin as two unit cells are shown to undergo a sequence of collective metalinsulator and antiferromagnetic transitions as a function of decreasing temperature, whereas samples with thicker LaNiO3 layers remain metallic and paramagnetic at all temperatures. Metal-oxide superlattices thus allow control of the dimensionality and collective phase behavior of correlated-electron systems

    Digital modulation of the nickel valence state in a cuprate-nickelate heterostructure

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    Layer-by-layer oxide molecular beam epitaxy has been used to synthesize cuprate-nickelate multilayer structures of composition (La2_2CuO4_4)m_m/LaO/(LaNiO3_3)n_n. In a combined experimental and theoretical study, we show that these structures allow a clean separation of dopant and doped layers. Specifically, the LaO layer separating cuprate and nickelate blocks provides an additional charge that, according to density functional theory calculations, is predominantly accommodated in the interfacial nickelate layers. This is reflected in an elongation of bond distances and changes in valence state, as observed by scanning transmission electron microscopy and x-ray absorption spectroscopy. Moreover, the predicted charge disproportionation in the nickelate interface layers leads to a thickness-dependent metal-to-insulator transition for n=2n=2, as observed in electrical transport measurements. The results exemplify the perspectives of charge transfer in metal-oxide multilayers to induce doping without introducing chemical and structural disorder

    Tunable Charge and Spin Order in PrNiO3_3 Thin Films and Superlattices

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    We have used polarized Raman scattering to probe lattice vibrations and charge ordering in 12 nm thick, epitaxially strained PrNiO3_3 films, and in superlattices of PrNiO3_3 with the band-insulator PrAlO3_3. A carefully adjusted confocal geometry was used to eliminate the substrate contribution to the Raman spectra. In films and superlattices under tensile strain, which undergo a metal-insulator transition upon cooling, the Raman spectra reveal phonon modes characteristic of charge ordering. These anomalous phonons do not appear in compressively strained films, which remain metallic at all temperatures. For superlattices under compressive strain, the Raman spectra show no evidence of anomalous phonons indicative of charge ordering, while complementary resonant x-ray scattering experiments reveal antiferromagnetic order associated with a modest increase in resistivity upon cooling. This confirms theoretical predictions of a spin density wave phase driven by spatial confinement of the conduction electrons.Comment: PRL, in pres

    Long-range charge density wave proximity effect at cuprate-manganate interfaces

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    The interplay between charge density waves (CDWs) and high-temperature superconductivity is currently under intense investigation. Experimental research on this issue is difficult because CDW formation in bulk copper-oxides is strongly influenced by random disorder, and a long-range-ordered CDW state in high magnetic fields is difficult to access with spectroscopic and diffraction probes. Here we use resonant x-ray scattering in zero magnetic field to show that interfaces with the metallic ferromagnet La2/3_{2/3}Ca1/3_{1/3}MnO3_3 greatly enhance CDW formation in the optimally doped high-temperature superconductor YBa2_2Cu3_3O6+δ_{6+\delta} (δ1\bf \delta \sim 1), and that this effect persists over several tens of nm. The wavevector of the incommensurate CDW serves as an internal calibration standard of the charge carrier concentration, which allows us to rule out any significant influence of oxygen non-stoichiometry, and to attribute the observed phenomenon to a genuine electronic proximity effect. Long-range proximity effects induced by heterointerfaces thus offer a powerful method to stabilize the charge density wave state in the cuprates, and more generally, to manipulate the interplay between different collective phenomena in metal oxides.Comment: modified version published in Nature Material

    Quantitative determination of bond order and lattice distortions in nickel oxide heterostructures by resonant x-ray scattering

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    We present a combined study of Ni KK-edge resonant x-ray scattering and density functional calculations to probe and distinguish electronically driven ordering and lattice distortions in nickelate heterostructures. We demonstrate that due to the low crystal symmetry, contributions from structural distortions can contribute significantly to the energy-dependent Bragg peak intensities of a bond-ordered NdNiO3_3 reference film. For a LaNiO3_3-LaAlO3_3 superlattice that exhibits magnetic order, we establish a rigorous upper bound on the bond-order parameter. We thus conclusively confirm predictions of a dominant spin density wave order parameter in metallic nickelates with a quasi-two-dimensional electronic structure

    Transfer of Magnetic Order and Anisotropy through Epitaxial Integration of 3d and 4f Spin Systems

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    Resonant x ray scattering at the Dy M 5 and Ni L 3 absorption edges was used to probe the temperature and magnetic field dependence of magnetic order in epitaxial LaNiO3 DyScO3 superlattices. For superlattices with 2 unit cell thick LaNiO3 layers, a commensurate spiral state develops in the Ni spin system below 100 K. Upon cooling below T ind 18 K, Dy Ni exchange interactions across the LaNiO3 DyScO3 interfaces induce collinear magnetic order of interfacial Dy moments as well as a reorientation of the Ni spins to a direction dictated by the strong magnetocrystalline anisotropy of Dy. This transition is reversible by an external magnetic field of 3 T. Tailored exchange interactions between rare earth and transition metal ions thus open up new perspectives for the manipulation of spin structures in metal oxide heterostructures and device

    Strain and composition dependence of the orbital polarization in nickelate superlattices

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    A combined analysis of x-ray absorption and resonant reflectivity data was used to obtain the orbital polarization profiles of superlattices composed of four-unit-cell-thick layers of metallic LaNiO3 and layers of insulating RXO3 (R=La, Gd, Dy and X=Al, Ga, Sc), grown on substrates that impose either compressive or tensile strain. This superlattice geometry allowed us to partly separate the influence of epitaxial strain from interfacial effects controlled by the chemical composition of the insulating blocking layers. Our quantitative analysis reveal orbital polarizations up to 25%. We further show that strain is the most effective control parameter, whereas the influence of the chemical composition of the blocking layers is comparatively small.Comment: 9 pages, 8 figure

    Site-selective Probe of Magnetic Excitations in Rare-earth Nickelates using Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering

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    We have used high-resolution resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) to study a thin film of NdNiO3_3, a compound whose unusual spin- and bond-ordered electronic ground state has been of long-standing interest. Below the magnetic ordering temperature, we observe well-defined collective magnon excitations along different high-symmetry directions in momentum space. The magnetic spectra depend strongly on the incident photon energy, which we attribute to RIXS coupling to different local electronic configurations of the expanded and compressed NiO6_6 octahedra in the bond-ordered state. Both the noncollinear magnetic ground state and the observed site-dependent magnon excitations are well described by a model that assumes strong competition between the antiferromagnetic superexchange and ferromagnetic double-exchange interactions. Our study provides direct insight into the magnetic dynamics and exchange interactions of the rare-earth nickelates, and demonstrates that RIXS can serve as a site-selective probe of magnetism in these and other materials.Comment: Phys. Rev. X, in pres
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