Pulsed laser deposition of spinel γ-Al2O3 thin films on bulk perovskite SrTiO3 is monitored by high-pressure reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED). The heteroepitaxial combination of two materials with different crystal structures is found to be inherently accompanied by a strong intensity modulation of bulk diffraction patterns from inelastically scattered electrons, which impedes the observation of RHEED intensity oscillations. Avoiding such electron surface-wave resonance enhancement by de-tuning the RHEED geometry allows for the separate observation of the surface-diffracted specular RHEED signal and thus the real-time monitoring of sub-unit cell two-dimensional layer-by-layer growth. Since these challenges are essentially rooted in the difference between film and substrate crystal structure, our findings are of relevance for the growth of any heterostructure combining oxides with different crystal symmetry and may thus facilitate the search for novel oxide heterointerfaces.
Monitoring non-pseudomorphic epitaxial growth of spinel/perovskite oxide heterostructures by reflection high-energy electron diffraction
P. Schütz, F. Pfaff, P. Scheiderer, M. Sing, R. Claessen; Monitoring non-pseudomorphic epitaxial growth of spinel/perovskite oxide heterostructures by reflection high-energy electron diffraction. Appl. Phys. Lett. 9 February 2015; 106 (6): 063108. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4908247
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