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Phase diagram of compressively strained nickelate thin films

Author(s): A. S. Disa | D. P. Kumah | J. H. Ngai | E. D. Specht | D. A. Arena | F. J. Walker | C. H. Ahn

Journal: APL Materials
ISSN 2166-532X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 032110;
Date: 2013;
Original page

The complex phase diagrams of strongly correlated oxides arise from the coupling between physical and electronic structure. This can lead to a renormalization of the phase boundaries when considering thin films rather than bulk crystals due to reduced dimensionality and epitaxial strain. The well-established bulk RNiO3 phase diagram shows a systematic dependence between the metal-insulator transition and the perovskite A-site rare-earth ion, R. Here, we explore the equivalent phase diagram for nickelate thin films under compressive epitaxial strain. We determine the metal-insulator phase diagram for the solid solution of Nd1-yLayNiO3 thin films within the range 0 ≤ y ≤ 1. We find qualitative similarity between the films and their bulk analogs, but with an overall renormalization in the metal-insulator transition to lower temperature. A combination of x-ray diffraction measurements and soft x-ray absorption spectroscopy indicates that the renormalization is due to increased Ni–O bond hybridization for coherently strained thin films.
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