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Physics  2012 

Electronic charge redistribution in LaAlO$_3$(001) thin films deposited at SrTiO$_3$(001) substrate: First principles analysis and the role of stoichiometry

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.86.155410

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We present a comprehensive first-principles study of the electronic charge redistribution in atomically sharp LaAlO$_3$/SrTiO$_3$(001) heterointerfaces of both n- and p-types allowing for non-stoichiometric composition. Using two different computational methods within the framework of the density functional theory (linear combination of atomic orbitals and plane waves) we demonstrate that conducting properties of LaAlO$_3$/SrTiO$_3$(001) heterointerfaces strongly depend on termination of LaAlO$_3$ (001) surface. We argue that both the polar "catastrophe" and the polar distortion scenarios may be realized depending on the interface stoichiometry. Our calculations predict that heterointerfaces with a non-stoichiometrc film---either LaO-terminated n-type or AlO$_2$-terminated p-type---may exhibit the conductivity of n- or p-type, respectively, independently of LaAlO$_3$(001) film thickness.


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