Publication date: Jul 25, 2023
Recently a highly ordered Moiré dislocation lattice was identified at the interface between a SrTiO₃ (STO) thin film and the (LaAlO₃)₀.₃(Sr₂TaAlO₆)₀.₇ (LSAT) substrate. A fundamental understanding of the local ionic and electronic structure around the dislocation cores is crucial to further engineer the properties of these complex multifunctional heterostructures. Here we combine experimental characterization via analytical scanning transmission electron microscopy with results of molecular dynamics and density functional theory calculations to gain insights into the structure and defect chemistry of these dislocation arrays. Our results show that these dislocations lead to undercoordinated Ta/Al cations at the dislocation core, where oxygen vacancies can easily be formed, further facilitated by the presence of cation vacancies. The reduced Ti³⁺ observed experimentally at the dislocations by electron energy-loss spectroscopy are a consequence of both the structure of the dislocation itself, as well as of the electron-doping due to oxygen vacancy formation. Finally, the experimentally observed Ti diffusion into LSAT around the dislocation core occurs only together with cation-vacancy formation in LSAT or Ta diffusion into STO.
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