Ambiguous Role of Growth-Induced Defects on the Semiconductor-to-Metal Characteristics in Epitaxial VO2/TiO2 Thin Films
AuthorMihailescu, Cristian N.
Negrea, Raluca F.
Tanase, Liviu C.
SourceACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
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Controlling the semiconductor-to-metal transition temperature in epitaxial VO2 thin films remains an unresolved question both at the fundamental as well as the application level. Within the scope of this work, the effects of growth temperature on the structure, chemical composition, interface coherency and electrical characteristics of rutile VO2 epitaxial thin films grown on TiO2 substrates are investigated. It is hereby deduced that the transition temperature is lower than the bulk value of 340 K. However, it is found to approach this value as a function of increased growth temperature even though it is accompanied by a contraction along the V4+–V4+ bond direction, the crystallographic c-axis lattice parameter. Additionally, it is demonstrated that films grown at low substrate temperatures exhibit a relaxed state and a strongly reduced transition temperature. It is suggested that, besides thermal and epitaxial strain, growth-induced defects may strongly affect the electronic phase transition. The results of this work reveal the difficulty in extracting the intrinsic material response to strain, when the exact contribution of all strain sources cannot be effectively determined. The findings also bear implications on the limitations in obtaining the recently predicted novel semi-Dirac point phase in VO2/TiO2 multilayer structures.