Towards spin-polarized two-dimensional electron gas at a surface of an antiferromagnetic insulating oxide.
R. Mishra, Y.-M. Kim, Q. He, X. Huang, S. K. Kim, A. Bhattacharya, D. D. Fong, S. T. Pantelides, A. Y. Borisevich, Physical Review B 94, 045123 (2016).
The surfaces of transition-metal oxides with the perovskite structure are fertile grounds for the discovery of novel electronic and magnetic phenomena. In this article, we combine scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) with density functional theory (DFT) calculations to obtain the electronic and magnetic properties of the (001) surface of a (LaFeO3)8/(SrFeO3)1 superlattice film capped with four layers of LaFeO3. Simultaneously acquired STEM images and electron-energy-loss spectra reveal the surface structure and a reduction in the oxidation state of iron from Fe3+ in the bulk to Fe2+ at the surface, extending over several atomic layers, which signals the presence of oxygen vacancies. The DFT calculations confirm the reduction in terms of oxygen vacancies and further demonstrate the stabilization of an exotic phase in which the surface layer is half metallic and ferromagnetic, while the bulk remains antiferromagnetic and insulating. Based on the calculations, we predict that the surface magnetism and conductivity can be controlled by tuning the partial pressure of oxygen.