Strain dependent microstructural modifications of BiCrO3 epitaxial thin films

Vijayanandhini Kannan, Miryam Arredondo-Arechavala, Florian Johann, Dietrich Hesse, Christine Labrugere, Mario Maglione, Ionela Vrejoiu

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Strain-dependent microstructural modifications were observed in epitaxial BiCrO3 (BCO) thin films fabricated on single crystalline substrates, utilizing pulsed laser deposition. The following conditions were employed to modify the epitaxial-strain: (i) in-plane tensile strain, BCOSTO [BCO grown on buffered SrTiO3 (001)] and in-plane compressive strain, BCONGO [BCO grown on buffered NdGaO3 (110)] and (ii) varying BCO film thickness. A combination of techniques like X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to analyse the epitaxial growth quality and the microstructure of BCO. Our studies revealed that in the case of BCOSTO, a coherent interface with homogeneous orthorhombic phase is obtained only for BCO film with thicknesses, d < 50 nm. All the BCOSTO films with d = 50 nm were found to be strain-relaxed with an orthorhombic phase showing 1/2 <100> and 1/4 <101> satellite reflections, the latter oriented at 45° from orthorhombic diffraction spots. High angle annular dark field scanning TEM of these films strongly suggested that the satellite reflections, 1/2 <100> and 1/4 <101>, originate from the atomic stacking sequence changes (or “modulated structure”) as reported for polytypes, without altering the chemical composition. The unaltered stoichiometry was confirmed by estimating both valency of Bi and Cr cations by surface and in-depth XPS analysis as well as the stoichiometric ratio (1 Bi:1 Cr) using scanning TEM–energy dispersive X-ray analysis. In contrast, compressively strained BCONGO films exhibited monoclinic symmetry without any structural modulations or interfacial defects, up to d ~ 200 nm. Our results indicate that both the substrate-induced in-plane epitaxial strain and the BCO film thickness are the crucial parameters to stabilise a homogeneous BCO phase in an epitaxially grown film.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-139
Number of pages10
JournalThin Solid Films
Early online date24 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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