2022 journal article

Superconducting phase of TixOy thin films grown by molecular beam epitaxy

Physical Review Materials.

By: Y. Ozbek n, C. Brooks n, X. Zhang n, A. Al-Tawhid n, V. Stoica*, Z. Zhang*, D. Kumah n

Source: ORCID
Added: June 28, 2022

We investigate the complex relationship between the growth conditions and the structural and transport properties of $\mathrm{Ti_xO_y}$ thin films grown by molecular beam epitaxy. Transport properties ranging from metallicity to superconductivity and insulating states are stabilized by effectively tuning the O/Ti ratio via the Ti flux rate and the O partial pressure, $P_{Ox}$, for films grown on (0001)-$\mathrm{Al_2 O_3}$ substrates at 850$^{\circ}$ C. A cubic $c-\mathrm{TiO_{1\pm\delta}}$ buffer layer is formed for low O/Ti ratios while a corundum cr-$\mathrm{Ti_2 O_3}$ layer is formed under higher oxidizing conditions. Metallicity is observed for c-$\mathrm{TiO_{1-\delta}}$ buffer layers. The superconducting $\mathrm{\gamma-Ti_3 O_5}$ Magn\'eli phase is found to nucleate on a c-$\mathrm{TiO_{1-\delta}}$ buffer for intermediate $P_{Ox}$ conditions and an insulator-superconducting transition is observed at 4.5 K (T$_C^{onset}=6 K$) for 85 nm thick films. Strain relaxation of the $\mathrm{\gamma-Ti_3 O_5}$ occurs with increasing film thickness and correlates with a thickness-dependent increase in T$_C$ observed for $\mathrm{Ti_xO_y}$ thin films.