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Structural study of nickelate based heterostructures

Published on March 6, 2024

Heterostructures consisting of SmNiO3 and NdNiO3 alternating layers with additional LaAlO3 spacer layers were grown and fully characterized by means of x-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, and scanning transmission electron microscopy. A change in the orientation of the orthorhombic long-axis of the nickelate layers is observed when a single unit cell of LaAlO3 is inserted between SmNiO3 and NdNiO3, in agreement with density functional theory calculations. At the same time, the structure of the ultra-thin rhombohedral LaAlO3 layers is affected by their proximity to orthorhombic nickelate layers, with both scanning transmission electron microscopy studies and density functional theory calculations revealing a weak antipolar motion of the La-cation in the LaAlO3 layers that is not present in the bulk rhombohedral structure of this compound.


Lucia Varbaro, Bernat Mundet, Subhadeep Bandyopadhyay, Claribel Domínguez, Jennifer Fowlie, Lukas Korosec, Chih-Ying Hsu, Duncan T. L. Alexander, Philippe Ghosez, Jean-Marc Triscone