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Direct Visualization of Current-Stimulated Oxygen Migration in YBa2Cu3O7−δ Thin Films

Authors: Stefan Marinković, Alejandro Fernández-Rodríguez, Simon Collienne, Sylvain Blanco Alvarez, Sorin Melinte, Boris Maiorov, Gemma Rius, Xavier Granados, Narcís Mestres, Anna Palau and Alejandro V. Silhanek.

ACS Nano 2020, 14, 9, 11765–11774

Abstract:The past years have witnessed major advancements in all-electrical doping control on cuprates. In the vast majority of cases, the tuning of charge carrier density has been achieved via electric field effect by means of either a ferroelectric polarization or using a dielectric or electrolyte gating. Unfortunately, these approaches are constrained to rather thin superconducting layers and require large electric fields in order to ensure sizable carrier modulations. In this work, we focus on the investigation of oxygen doping in an extended region through current-stimulated oxygen migration in YBa2Cu3O7−δ superconducting bridges. The underlying methodology is rather simple and avoids sophisticated nanofabrication process steps and complex electronics. A patterned multiterminal transport bridge configuration allows us to electrically assess the directional counterflow of oxygen atoms and vacancies. Importantly, the emerging propagating front of current-dependent doping δ is probed in situ by optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The resulting imaging techniques, together with photoinduced conductivity and Raman scattering investigations, reveal an inhomogeneous oxygen vacancy distribution with a controllable propagation speed permitting us to estimate the oxygen diffusivity. These findings provide direct evidence that the microscopic mechanism at play in electrical doping of cuprates involves diffusion of oxygen atoms with the applied current. The resulting fine control of the oxygen content would permit a systematic study of complex phase diagrams and the design of electrically addressable devices.


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