Effect of cation off-stoichiometry on optical absorption in epitaxial LaFeO3 films
We have investigated the effect of La and Fe deficiency on the c-axis lattice parameter and optical absorption in La1−xFe1−yO3−δ films deposited by oxide MBE. La deficient films display minimal changes in optical and structural properties compared with stoichiometric LaFeO3, even with relatively large cation vacancy concentrations (∼22%). Fe deficient films show a linear increase in c-axis parameter with increasing Fe vacancy concentration. The optical absorption coefficient is reduced for Fe deficient films over the spectral range from 1.2 to 5.0 eV. This leads to a relatively simple and effective method to quantify the approximate Fe deficiency in LaFeO3. Minimal changes in optical and structural properties are observed when cation deficient films are exposed to strongly oxidizing (ozone annealing) conditions. This indicates a strong accompaniment of charge balancing oxygen vacancies to maintain a nominal Fe3+ valence state, acting to stabilize the band structure even in the presence of significant cation off-stoichiometry.