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Discovering New Tricks in Older Complex Oxides - The 2017 MRS Outstanding Young Investigator Award Talk 
Date/Time:
April 19, 2017   9:30am - 10:15am
 
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Transition-metal oxides offer an exciting platform for electronics owing to the allure of phenomena they offer, including ferroic functionality, correlated-electron behavior, and coexisting contraindicated properties. Owing to the sensitivity of their properties on (local and crystal) structure and composition, picoscale structure-property relationships are necessary to design function. Here, I briefly provide an overview of our progress in identifying these relationships and finding new phases through quantum-mechanical approaches combined with multiple materials-theory methods. Then, I describe two examples of how external perturbations to picometer scale distortions of bond lengths and angles produce unanticipated phenomena in thin films and bulk oxides of the form An+1BnO3n+1 (n = 1-∞), originally discovered by Ruddlesden and Popper (RP) in the 1950s. First, although large epitaxial strains are believed to induce ferroelectricity, I show that biaxial strain induces an unforeseen polar-to-nonpolar (P-NP) transition in (001) thin films of Ca3Ti2O7 (n = 2) at experimentally accessible biaxial compressive and tensile strains owing to strain-tunable BO6 octahedral rotation modes. Second, I describe how to use local electrostatic interactions among atomic metal-monoxide planes (AO and A'O)  to induce differential bond distortions. These changes in local structure produce massive and gap changes of up to ∼2 eV without modifying chemical composition and even drive a metal-insulator transitions in the band insulator LaSrAlO4. I conclude by emphasizing that older complex oxides, which are now understood to exhibit nontrivial lattice mode anharmonicities, offer a plentiful playground for realizing new functionalities with both static and dynamic fields in thin film and bulk form.
 


 
 
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