Physical Review Materials

Thermal-strain-engineered ferromagnetism of LaMn O3/SrTi O3 heterostructures grown on silicon

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The integration of oxides on Si remains challenging, which largely hampers the practical applications of oxide-based electronic devices with superior performance. Recently, LaMnO3/SrTiO3 (LMO/STO) heterostructures have gained renewed interest for the debating origin of the ferromagnetic-insulating ground state as well as for their spin-filter applications. Here we report on the structural and magnetic properties of high-quality LMO/STO heterostructures grown on silicon. The chemical abruptness across the interface was investigated by atomic-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy. The difference in the thermal expansion coefficients between LMO and Si imposed a large biaxial tensile strain to the LMO film, resulting in a tetragonal structure with c/a∼0.983. Consequently, we observed a significantly suppressed ferromagnetism along with an enhanced coercive field, as compared to the less distorted LMO film (c/a∼1.004) grown on STO single crystal. The results are discussed in terms of tensile-strain enhanced antiferromagnetic instabilities. Moreover, the ferromagnetism of LMO on Si sharply disappeared below a thickness of 5 unit cells, in agreement with the LMO/STO case, pointing to a robust critical behavior irrespective of the strain state. Our results demonstrate that the growth of oxide films on Si can be a promising way to study the tensile-strain effects in correlated oxides, and also pave the way towards the integration of multifunctional oxides on Si with atomic-layer control.