Synthesis of thin film infinite-layer nickelates by atomic hydrogen reduction: clarifying the role of the capping layer

Kavli Affiliate: Darrell G. Schlom

| First 5 Authors: Christopher T. Parzyck, Vivek Anil, Yi Wu, Berit H. Goodge, Matthew Roddy

| Summary:

We present an integrated procedure for the synthesis of infinite-layer
nickelates using molecular-beam epitaxy with gas-phase reduction by atomic
hydrogen. We first discuss challenges in the growth and characterization of
perovskite NdNiO$_3$/SrTiO$_3$, arising from post growth crack formation in
stoichiometric films. We then detail a procedure for fully reducing NdNiO$_3$
films to the infinite-layer phase, NdNiO$_2$, using atomic hydrogen; the
resulting films display excellent structural quality, smooth surfaces, and
lower residual resistivities than films reduced by other methods. We utilize
the in situ nature of this technique to investigate of the role that SrTiO$_3$
capping layers play in the reduction process, illustrating their importance in
preventing the formation of secondary phases at the exposed nickelate surface.
A comparative bulk- and surface-sensitive study indicates formation of a
polycrystalline crust on the film surface serves to limit the reduction

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