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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Laura Rodríguez Domínguez receives a Graduate Student Award at the 2018 E-MRS Fall Meeting

The E-MRS awards for graduate students consist of a grant of 350 EUR and a diploma to recognise outstanding performance and promise for future substantial achievement. The title of the abstract presented by the awarded ICN2 researcher was “In-situ observation of domains across the metal-insulator transition of VO2 thin films”.

Laura Rodríguez Domínguez, PhD student at the ICN2 Oxide Nanophysics Group and Nanomaterials Growth Unit, has been awarded the Graduate Student Award at the 2018 E-MRS Fall Meeting and Exhibit, which is being held in Warsaw University of Technology, from September 17 - 20. This prestigious event is an international forum for discussing recent advances in the field of materials science.

The E-MRS awards for graduate students (up to 2 per symposium) consist of a grant of 350 EUR and a diploma offered during the plenary session. The criteria to be awarded include: participating at the E-MRS 2018 Fall Meeting as author or co-author of a symposium paper; outstanding performance and promise for future substantial achievement; and, significant and timely research results.

The abstract of her presentation, delivered on September 17 in the context of the SEMICONDUCTORS AND ELECTRONIC MATERIALS - Epitaxial oxide films for electronic applications Symposium, is as follows:

In-situ observation of domains across the metal-insulator transition of VO2 thin films

Authors: Laura Rodríguez, Elena del Corro, Gustau Catalan, José Santiso, Felip Sandiumenge

Affiliations: Laura Rodríguez: Institut Catala de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), CSIC and The Barcelona Institute of Nanoscience and Technology (BIST), Campus UAB, 08193 Barcelona, Spain.; Elena del Corro: Institut Catala de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), CSIC and The Barcelona Institute of Nanoscience and Technology (BIST), Campus UAB, 08193 Barcelona, Spain.; Gustau Catalan: Institut Catala de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), CSIC and The Barcelona Institute of Nanoscience and Technology (BIST), Campus UAB, 08193 Barcelona, Spain. ICREA-Institucio Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain.; José Santiso: Institut Catala de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), CSIC and The Barcelona Institute of Nanoscience and Technology (BIST), Campus UAB, 08193 Barcelona, Spain.; Felip Sandiumenge: Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona, ICMAB-CSIC, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Catalonia, Spain.;

Resume: VO2 is a widely known material by its first order metal-insulator transition (MIT) near room temperature (~ 68ºC in bulk) but on the other hand, widely controversial due to the non-well understood transition mechanisms. This MIT couples an electronic transition to a structural one: the insulating (semiconductor) state is associated to a monoclinic structural phase while the metallic state does it to a rutile (tetragonal) phase. Nevertheless, it may not occur this way under a certain strain and thickness conditions, which makes it even more difficult to interpret(1). Whatever it is, the interface separating these metallic and insulating domains is interesting by itself because it could be understood as a Schottky barrier, therefore a diode. But if we want to explore this possibility we firstly need to stabilize such a transitory state. How? Are there techniques that allow us to see these phase boundaries in-situ? How do they look like? This ongoing work tries to put some light on all these questions. Since we know that MIT in VO2 is extremely sensitive to its strain state we wanted to cover the whole strain span, so we grew epitaxial VO2 thin films between 10 and 120 nm on (001)-oriented TiO2 substrates by pulsed laser deposition (PLD). To have a general understanding of the results many characterization techniques have to be taken into account as a whole, all together. Here we want to show that optical microscopy, x-ray diffraction (XRD), and several atomic force microscopy (AFM) modes could be the most clarifying ones. (1) Yang, M.; Yang, Y.; Hong, B.; Wang, L.; Hu, K.; Dong, Y.; Xu, H.; Huang, H.; Zhao, J.; Chen, H. & others Suppression of structural phase transition in VO2 by epitaxial strain in vicinity of metal-insulator transition.

Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 6, 23119