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Strain-controlled insulator–metal transition in YTiO3/SrTiO3 superlattices: effect of interfacial reconstruction

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Abstract

The structural, magnetic, and electronic properties of short-period STO/YTO superlattices consisting of Mott insulator YTiO3 (YTO) and band insulator SrTiO3 (STO) are investigated using the density-functional-theory plus U method. It is found that an insulator–metal transition occurs when a compressive strain is applied, and no transition occurs for tensile strain. Structural analyses reveal that the electronic transition accompanies a structural phase transition, restoring the inversion symmetry, and the strain compresses the interfacial oxygen octahedra of Ti and thus makes the d energy levels of the interfacial Ti atoms move upward so as to induce electron transfer to the STO layer. This mechanism is supported by the fact that a similar insulator–metal transition also occurs when the on-site U is reduced. These findings can improve our understanding of the structural and electronic properties of such oxide superlattices and heterostructures.

Graphical abstract: Strain-controlled insulator–metal transition in YTiO3/SrTiO3 superlattices: effect of interfacial reconstruction

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Publication details

The article was received on 04 Jul 2017, accepted on 05 Sep 2017 and first published on 06 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TC02985C
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2017, Advance Article
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    Strain-controlled insulator–metal transition in YTiO3/SrTiO3 superlattices: effect of interfacial reconstruction

    X. Zhang, P. Chen and B. Liu, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7TC02985C

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