The quasi 2D electron system (q2DES) that forms at the interface between LaAlO3 (LAO) and SrTiO3 (STO) has attracted much attention from the oxide electronics community. One of its hallmark features is the existence of a critical LAO thickness of 4 unit-cells (uc) for interfacial conductivity to emerge. Although electrostatic mechanisms have been proposed in the past to describe the existence of this critical thickness, the importance of chemical defects has been recently accentuated. Here, we describe the growth of metal/LAO/STO heterostructures in an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) cluster system combining pulsed laser deposition (to grow the LAO), magnetron sputtering (to grow the metal) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). We study step by step the formation and evolution of the q2DES and the chemical interactions that occur between the metal and the LAO/STO. Additionally, magnetotransport experiments elucidate on the transport and electronic properties of the q2DES. This systematic work not only demonstrates a way to study the electrostatic and chemical interplay between the q2DES and its environment, but also unlocks the possibility to couple multifunctional capping layers with the rich physics observed in two-dimensional electron systems, allowing the fabrication of new types of devices.
- 2D electron gas
- Issue 132
- Oxide interfaces
- Pulsed laser deposition
- X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy