Heterointerface engineered electronic and magnetic phases of NdNiO3 thin films

Nat Commun. 2013;4:2714. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3714.

Abstract

Mott physics is characterized by an interaction-driven metal-to-insulator transition in a partially filled band. In the resulting insulating state, antiferromagnetic orders of the local moments typically develop, but in rare situations no long-range magnetic order appears, even at zero temperature, rendering the system a quantum spin liquid. A fundamental and technologically critical question is whether one can tune the underlying energetic landscape to control both metal-to-insulator and Néel transitions, and even stabilize latent metastable phases, ideally on a platform suitable for applications. Here we demonstrate how to achieve this in ultrathin films of NdNiO3 with various degrees of lattice mismatch, and report on the quantum critical behaviours not reported in the bulk by transport measurements and resonant X-ray spectroscopy/scattering. In particular, on the decay of the antiferromagnetic Mott insulating state into a non-Fermi liquid, we find evidence of a quantum metal-to-insulator transition that spans a non-magnetic insulating phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.