Designing antiphase boundaries by atomic control of heterointerfaces
Extended defects are known to have critical influences in achieving desired material performance. However, the nature of extended defect generation is highly elusive due to the presence of multiple nucleation mechanisms with close energetics. A strategy to design extended defects in a simple and clean way is thus highly desirable to advance the understanding of their role, improve material quality, and serve as a unique playground to discover new phenomena. In this work, we report an approach to create planar extended defects-antiphase boundaries (APB) -with well-defined origins via the combination of advanced growth, atomic-resolved electron microscopy, first-principals calculations, and defect theory. In LaSrMnO thin film grown on SrRuO substrate, APBs in the film naturally nucleate at the step on the substrate/film interface. For a single step, the generated APBs tend to be nearly perpendicular to the interface and propragate toward the film surface. Interestingly, when two steps are close to each other, two corresponding APBs communicate and merge together, forming a unique triangle-shaped defect domain boundary. Such behavior has been ascribed, in general, to the minimization of the surface energy of the APB. Atomic-resolved electron microscopy shows that these APBs have an intriguing antipolar structure phase, thus having the potential as a general recipe to achieve ferroelectric-like domain walls for high-density nonvolatile memory.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Wang, Z., Guo, H., Shao, S., Saghayezhian, M., Li, J., Fittipaldi, R., Vecchione, A., Siwakoti, P., Zhu, Y., Zhang, J., & Plummer, E. W. (2018). Designing antiphase boundaries by atomic control of heterointerfaces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (38), 9485-9490. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1808812115