We have demonstrated pressure-induced transition in a c-axis oriented vanadium sesquioxide (V2O3) thin film from a strongly correlated metal to a Mott insulator in a submicrometric region by inducing a local stress using contact atomic force microscopy. To have an access to a pressure range of sub-gigapascal, a tip with a large radius of 335 nm was prepared by chemical vapour deposition of platinum onto a commercial tip with a focused ion beam (FIB). The FIB-modified tip gives a good electrical contact at low working pressures (0.25–0.4 GPa) allowing unambiguously to evidence reversible metal-insulator transition in a pulsed laser-deposited V2O3 thin film by means of local investigations of current-voltage characteristics. A finite element method has confirmed that the diminution of the c/a ratio under this tip pressure explains the observed phase transition of the electron density of states in the film.

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