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Atomic control and characterization of surface defect states of TiO2 terminated SrTiO3 single crystals

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8 Author(s)
Kareev, M. ; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA ; Prosandeev, S. ; Liu, J. ; Gan, C.
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By using an alternative wet-etch procedure, we have obtained high-quality atomically flat TiO2 terminated surfaces of SrTiO3 single crystals with the morphology equivalent to that of the conventional wet-etch methods. By applying a combined power of photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy, reflection high-energy electron diffraction, atomic force microscopy imaging, and soft x-ray absorption (XAS), we were able to identify and monitor the complex evolution of oxygen defect states and Ti valency at the surface and near-surface layers. Our experiments revealed a high level of local defects resulting in the presence of the Ti3+ states at the surface. We have developed a method to control the defect states capable of a marked reduction of the defect concentration. We have demonstrated that the PL and XAS are able to distinguish the surface-related Ti3+ states from oxygen vacancies trapping charge transfer vibronic excitons that define the PL intensity. The experimental findings will have important implications for the growth of high-quality ultrathin complex oxide heterostructures.

Published in:

Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:93 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Aug 2008

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