Giant reversible nanoscale piezoresistance at room temperature in Sr2IrO4 thin films†
Layered iridates have been the subject of intense scrutiny on account of their unusually strong spin–orbit coupling, which opens up a narrow bandgap in a material that would otherwise be a metal. This insulating state is very sensitive to external perturbations. Here, we show that vertical compression at the nanoscale, delivered using the tip of a standard scanning probe microscope, is capable of inducing a five orders of magnitude change in the room temperature resistivity of Sr2IrO4. The extreme sensitivity of the electronic structure to anisotropic deformations opens up a new angle of interest on this material, with the giant and fully reversible perpendicular piezoresistance rendering iridates as promising materials for room temperature piezotronic devices.