2022 journal article

Thickness and temperature dependence of the atomic-scale structure of SrRuO3 thin films

APL Materials.

Source: ORCID
Added: May 12, 2022

The temperature-dependent layer-resolved structure of 3 to 44 unit cell thick SrRuO3 (SRO) films grown on Nb-doped SrTiO3 substrates is investigated using a combination of high-resolution synchrotron x-ray diffraction and high-resolution electron microscopy to understand the role that structural distortions play in suppressing ferromagnetism in ultra-thin SRO films. The oxygen octahedral tilts and rotations and Sr displacements characteristic of the bulk orthorhombic phase are found to be strongly dependent on temperature, the film thickness, and the distance away from the film–substrate interface. For thicknesses, t, above the critical thickness for ferromagnetism (t > 3 uc), the orthorhombic distortions decrease with increasing temperature above TC. Below TC, the structure of the films remains constant due to the magneto-structural coupling observed in bulk SRO. The orthorhombic distortions are found to be suppressed in the 2–3 interfacial layers due to structural coupling with the SrTiO3 substrate and correlate with the critical thickness for ferromagnetism in uncapped SRO films.