Depth-resolved subsurface defects in chemically etched SrTiO3

Jun Zhang; Doutt, D.; Merz, T.; Chakhalian, J.; Kareev, M.; Liu, J.; Brillson, L. J.
March 2009
Applied Physics Letters;3/2/2009, Vol. 94 Issue 9, pN.PAG
Academic Journal
Depth-resolved cathodoluminescence spectroscopy of atomically flat TiO2-terminated SrTiO3 single crystal surfaces reveals dramatic differences in native point defects produced by conventional etching with buffered HF (BHF) and an alternative procedure using HCl–HNO3 acidic solution (HCLNO), which produces three times fewer oxygen vacancies before and nearly an order of magnitude fewer after pure oxygen annealing. BHF-produced defect densities extend hundreds of nanometers below the surface, whereas the lower HCLNO-treated densities extend less than 50 nm. This “Arkansas” HCLNO etch and anneal method avoids HF handling and provides high-quality SrTiO3 surfaces with low native defect density for complex oxide heterostructure growth.


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