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Extreme tensile strain states in La0.7Ca0.3MnO3 membranes

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Science  03 Apr 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6486, pp. 71-76
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax9753

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Straining an oxide membrane

Perovskite manganites, such as La0.7Ca0.3MnO3, have complex phase diagrams with many competing states. Among the knobs that can be used to control their properties are magnetic field and strain. Hong et al. placed membranes of La0.7Ca0.3MnO3 on a flexible polymer layer (see the Perspective by Beekman). Stretching the flexible layer resulted in large strains of up to 8% on the membrane. By varying the magnitude and direction of the strain, the researchers were able to explore the phase diagram of the system and influence its magnetic and transport properties.

Science, this issue p. 71; see also p. 32

Abstract

A defining feature of emergent phenomena in complex oxides is the competition and cooperation between ground states. In manganites, the balance between metallic and insulating phases can be tuned by the lattice; extending the range of lattice control would enhance the ability to access other phases. We stabilized uniform extreme tensile strain in nanoscale La0.7Ca0.3MnO3 membranes, exceeding 8% uniaxially and 5% biaxially. Uniaxial and biaxial strain suppresses the ferromagnetic metal at distinctly different strain values, inducing an insulator that can be extinguished by a magnetic field. Electronic structure calculations indicate that the insulator consists of charge-ordered Mn4+ and Mn3+ with staggered strain-enhanced Jahn-Teller distortions within the plane. This highly tunable strained membrane approach provides a broad opportunity to design and manipulate correlated electron states.

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