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Giant conductivity switching of LaAlO3/SrTiO3 heterointerfaces governed by surface protonation

Brown, Keith A. and He, Shu and Eichelsdoerfer, Daniel J. and Huang, Mengchen and Levy, Ishan and Lee, Hyungwoo and Ryu, Sangwoo and Irvin, Patrick and Mendez-Arroyo, Jose and Eom, Chang-Beom and Mirkin, Chad A. and Levy, Jeremy (2016) Giant conductivity switching of LaAlO3/SrTiO3 heterointerfaces governed by surface protonation. Nature Communications, 7. p. 10681. ISSN 2041-1723

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Complex-oxide interfaces host a diversity of phenomena not present in traditional semiconductor heterostructures. Despite intense interest, many basic questions remain about the mechanisms that give rise to interfacial conductivity and the role of surface chemistry in dictating these properties. Here we demonstrate a fully reversible >4 order of magnitude conductance change at LaAlO3/SrTiO3 (LAO/STO) interfaces, regulated by LAO surface protonation. Nominally conductive interfaces are rendered insulating by solvent immersion, which deprotonates the hydroxylated LAO surface; interface conductivity is restored by exposure to light, which induces reprotonation via photocatalytic oxidation of adsorbed water. The proposed mechanisms are supported by a coordinated series of electrical measurements, optical/solvent exposures, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. This intimate connection between LAO surface chemistry and LAO/STO interface physics bears far-reaching implications for reconfigurable oxide nanoelectronics and raises the possibility of novel applications in which electronic properties of these materials can be locally tuned using synthetic chemistry.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Brown, Keith A.
He, Shu
Eichelsdoerfer, Daniel J.
Huang, Mengchen
Levy, Ishan
Lee, Hyungwoo
Ryu, Sangwoo
Irvin, Patrick
Mendez-Arroyo, Jose
Eom, Chang-Beom
Mirkin, Chad A.
Levy, Jeremyjlevy@pitt.edujlevy
Date: 2016
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Communications
Volume: 7
Page Range: p. 10681
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1038/ncomms10681
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 2041-1723
Official URL:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2018 15:09
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2018 15:09


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