Electric field control of the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface ground state

Nature. 2008 Dec 4;456(7222):624-7. doi: 10.1038/nature07576.


Interfaces between complex oxides are emerging as one of the most interesting systems in condensed matter physics. In this special setting, in which translational symmetry is artificially broken, a variety of new and unusual electronic phases can be promoted. Theoretical studies predict complex phase diagrams and suggest the key role of the charge carrier density in determining the systems' ground states. A particularly fascinating system is the conducting interface between the band insulators LaAlO(3) and SrTiO(3) (ref. 3). Recently two possible ground states have been experimentally identified: a magnetic state and a two-dimensional superconducting condensate. Here we use the electric field effect to explore the phase diagram of the system. The electrostatic tuning of the carrier density allows an on/off switching of superconductivity and drives a quantum phase transition between a two-dimensional superconducting state and an insulating state. Analyses of the magnetotransport properties in the insulating state are consistent with weak localization and do not provide evidence for magnetism. The electric field control of superconductivity demonstrated here opens the way to the development of new mesoscopic superconducting circuits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't