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Research Highlight | Materials Science Division

Growth mechanism of heteroepitaxy on strontium titanate

In a study published in Science Advances, researchers investigated the effects of the TiO2 adlayer on layer-by-layer growth using different deposition sequences and anomalous x-ray scattering.

Scientific Achievement

Using in situ surface X-ray diffraction, we find that a TiO2 adlayer on the SrTiO3(001) surface is an important, active participant in the growth process and that layer rearrangement occurs throughout deposition.

Significance and Impact

Our in situ results challenge commonly held assumptions about heteroepitaxial growth on complex oxide crystals, demonstrating the critical role of surface stoichiometry on the growth mechanism.

Research Details

  • Performed in situ synchrotron X-ray studies at the Advanced Photon Source during synthesis by molecular beam epitaxy.
  • Crystal truncation rods were measured after the deposition of each monolayer, using non-resonant and resonant scattering.
  • The combined data sets were analyzed with a density functional theory-constrained procedure: this ensures the physicality of the fits and allows quantitative determination of the surface structures during growth.

Work was performed at Argonne National Laboratory.

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav0764

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