Defects, stoichiometry, and electronic transport in SrTiO3-δ epilayers: A high pressure oxygen sputter deposition study

P. Ambwani, P. Xu, G. Haugstad, J. S. Jeong, R. Deng, K. A. Mkhoyan, B. Jalan, C. Leighton

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SrTiO3 is not only of enduring interest due to its unique dielectric, structural, and lattice dynamical properties, but is also the archetypal perovskite oxide semiconductor and a foundational material in oxide heterostructures and electronics. This has naturally focused attention on growth, stoichiometry, and defects in SrTiO3, one exciting recent development being such precisely stoichiometric defect-managed thin films that electron mobilities have finally exceeded bulk crystals. This has been achieved only by molecular beam epitaxy, however (and to a somewhat lesser extent pulsed laser deposition (PLD)), and numerous open questions remain. Here, we present a study of the stoichiometry, defects, and structure in SrTiO3 synthesized by a different method, high pressure oxygen sputtering, relating the results to electronic transport. We find that this form of sputter deposition is also capable of homoepitaxy of precisely stoichiometric SrTiO3, but only provided that substrate and target preparation, temperature, pressure, and deposition rate are carefully controlled. Even under these conditions, oxygen-vacancy-doped heteroepitaxial SrTiO3 films are found to have carrier density, mobility, and conductivity significantly lower than bulk. While surface depletion plays a role, it is argued from particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) measurements of trace impurities in commercial sputtering targets that this is also due to deep acceptors such as Fe at 100's of parts-per-million levels. Comparisons of PIXE from SrTiO3 crystals and polycrystalline targets are shown to be of general interest, with clear implications for sputter and PLD deposition of this important material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055704
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 7 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported primarily by the National Science Foundation through the University of Minnesota MRSEC under Award No. DMR-1420013. X-ray scattering characterization was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Award No. DE-FG02-06ER46275. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. We are grateful to B. Shklovskii, K. Reich, and Y. Ayino for numerous illuminating discussions, particularly with respect to the role played by impurities in STO transport, and the metal-insulator transition

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Author(s).

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