Exploring the dark side of a single crystal thin oxide film, Analysis by a team led by researchers now reveals unprecedented detail about the types of thin films tested for advanced microelectronics.

Complex oxides are multifunctional materials which can ultimately lead to energy-efficient electronic storage components and quantum computers. In general, these materials are made layer by layer on an atomic substrate combined, a process known as epitaxial growth.

To use complex oxides in electronics, they must be made with silicon, which is an impossible task for existing epitaxial growth techniques because the atomic structures of the two materials do not match. One possible solution is to grow complex oxides elsewhere and then transfer the film to another substrate.

New research reveals the idea of ​​free-standing complex oxides which could ultimately create an entirely new field of research: complex oxide microelectronics.

Using a microscope scan, the team examined tin zirconium titanate (PZT), a type of ferroelectric single crystal thin-film oxide complex. Such a single crystal film has ideal properties for microelectronics. They are highly polarized, durable and can be quickly replaced, which makes it suitable for future ferroelectric chips with random access, for example.

This thin film growth requires a temperature of around 700 ° C (1292 ° F), which decreases the interface layer’s properties when implanted directly on silicon. The researchers therefore processed PZT on the strontium titanate (STO) substrate which is more susceptible to the “sacrificial layer” of lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO) which was contaminated between them.

The team used an electrostatic force microscope with a radius of 20 nanometers to measure the local ferroelectric properties of the material. Their analysis shows that the local static properties of the free surface of the free standing PZT are very similar to those on the upper surface. This finding is very encouraging for the future of complex microelectronic oxides, because it confirms that the interface of the transferred PZT film is a high-quality ferroelectric coating.

Using piezorescent microscopic imaging, the researchers determined that the velocity of the walls of the ferroelectric domain of the detached layer was a size that was almost 1000 times slower for complex electrostatic oxide energy landscapes than strongly bound PZT films.

The presence of these structural waves in complex oxides, previously known as intermittent ceramics, is an exciting new scientific discovery and a future basis for the study of strong gradient gradients caused by physical phenomena such as the flexoelectric effect. However, in microelectronic devices, these small ripples can cause fluctuations between the device and the device.

Our study shows that this material is ready for future microelectronic applications, the researchers say, but this requires further investigation to avoid this wave.