Tailoring Materials for Mottronics: Excess Oxygen Doping of a Prototypical Mott Insulator

Adv Mater. 2018 Jun;30(25):e1706708. doi: 10.1002/adma.201706708. Epub 2018 May 7.


The Mott transistor is a paradigm for a new class of electronic devices-often referred to by the term Mottronics-which are based on charge correlations between the electrons. Since correlation-induced insulating phases of most oxide compounds are usually very robust, new methods have to be developed to push such materials right to the boundary to the metallic phase in order to enable the metal-insulator transition to be switched by electric gating. Here, it is demonstrated that thin films of the prototypical Mott insulator LaTiO3 grown by pulsed laser deposition under oxygen atmosphere are readily tuned by excess oxygen doping across the line of the band-filling controlled Mott transition in the electronic phase diagram. The detected insulator to metal transition is characterized by a strong change in resistivity of several orders of magnitude. The use of suitable substrates and capping layers to inhibit oxygen diffusion facilitates full control of the oxygen content and renders the films stable against exposure to ambient conditions. These achievements represent a significant advancement in control and tuning of the electronic properties of LaTiO3+x thin films making it a promising channel material in future Mottronic devices.

Keywords: electronic phase transitions; mottronics; photoelectron spectroscopy; thin films; transition metal oxides.