Evolution of the surface atomic structure of multielement oxide films: curse or blessing?

G. Franceschi, R. Heller, M. Schmid, U. Diebold, M. Riva

Institut für Angewandte Physik, TU Wien, 1040 Wien, Austria

Nanoscale Adv. 5 (2023) 7009-7017

Atomically resolved scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) are used to gain atomic-scale insights into the heteroepitaxy of lanthanum-strontium manganite (LSMO, La1−xSrxMnO3−δ, x ≈ 0.2) on SrTiO3(110). LSMO is a perovskite oxide characterized by several composition-dependent surface reconstructions. The flexibility of the surface allows it to incorporate nonstoichiometries during growth, which causes the structure of the surface to evolve accordingly. This happens up to a critical point, where phase separation occurs, clusters rich in the excess cations form at the surface, and films show a rough morphology. To limit the nonstoichiometry introduced by non-optimal growth conditions, it proves useful to monitor the changes in surface atomic structures as a function of the PLD parameters and tune the latter accordingly.

Corresponding author: Giada Franceschi (franceschi at iap_tuwien_ac_at).

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