Effect of domain boundaries on the electrical properties of crystalline Gd2O3 thin films

Laha, Apurba; Bugiel, E.; Wang, J. X.; Sun, Q. Q.; Fissel, A.; Osten, H. J.
November 2008
Applied Physics Letters;11/3/2008, Vol. 93 Issue 18, p182907
Academic Journal
We report on the effect of domain boundaries on the electrical properties of epitaxial Gd2O3 thin films grown on Si(001) substrates with 4° miscut along [110] azimuth. Dedicated preparation of the substrate surfaces can lead to two different microstructures of epitaxial Gd2O3 layers when grown at identical growth conditions. A substrate surface with terraces of biatomic steps height is the key point to achieve single crystalline epitaxial Gd2O3 layer. Such epi-Gd2O3 layers exhibited significantly lower leakage currents compared with the commonly obtained epitaxial layers with two orthogonal domains. However, for capacitance equivalent thickness below 1 nm, this difference disappears, indicating that for ultrathin layers direct tunneling becomes dominating. Additionally, forming gas annealing can reduce the leakage current by a few orders of magnitude. Here, thinner layers of both structural types exhibited similar electrical properties.


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