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Simple self-gettering differential-pump for minimizing source oxidation in oxide-MBE environment
Yong-Seung Kim,Namrata Bansal,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1116/1.3591384
Abstract: Source oxidation of easily oxidizing elements such as Ca, Sr, Ba, and Ti in an oxidizing ambient leads to their flux instability and is one of the biggest problems in the multi-elemental oxide Molecular Beam Epitaxy technique. Here we report a new scheme that can completely eliminate the source oxidation problem: a self-gettering differential pump using the source itself as the pumping medium. The pump simply comprises a long collimator mounted in front of the source in extended port geometry. With this arrangement, the oxygen partial pressure near the source was easily maintained well below the source oxidation regime, resulting in a stabilized flux, comparable to that of an ultra-high-vacuum environment. Moreover, this pump has a self-feedback mechanism that allows a stronger pumping effectiveness for more easily oxidizing elements, which is a desired property for eliminating the source oxidation problem.
Emergence of decoupled surface transport channels in bulk insulating Bi2Se3 thin films
Matthew Brahlek,Nikesh Koirala,Maryam Salehi,Namrata Bansal,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.026801
Abstract: In ideal topological insulator (TI) films the bulk state, which is supposed to be insulating, should not provide any electric coupling between the two metallic surfaces. However, transport studies on existing TI films show that the topological states on opposite surfaces are electrically tied to each other at thicknesses far greater than the direct coupling limit where the surface wavefunctions overlap. Here, we show that as the conducting bulk channels are suppressed, the parasitic coupling effect diminishes and the decoupled surface channels emerge as expected for ideal TIs. In Bi2Se3 thin films with fully suppressed bulk states, the two surfaces, which are directly coupled below ~10 QL, become gradually isolated with increasing thickness and are completely decoupled beyond ~20 QL. On such a platform, it is now feasible to implement transport devices whose functionality relies on accessing the individual surface layers without any deleterious coupling effects.
Transport Properties of Topological Insulators: Band Bending, Bulk Metal-to-Insulator Transition, and Weak Anti-Localization
Matthew Brahlek,Nikesh Koirala,Namrata Bansal,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.ssc.2014.10.021
Abstract: We reanalyze some of the critical transport experiments and provide a coherent understanding of the current generation of topological insulators (TIs). Currently TI transport studies abound with widely varying claims of the surface and bulk states, often times contradicting each other, and a proper understanding of TI transport properties is lacking. According to the simple criteria given by Mott and Ioffe-Regel, even the best TIs are not true insulators in the Mott sense, and at best, are weakly-insulating bad metals. However, band-bending effects contribute significantly to the TI transport properties including Shubnikov de-Haas oscillations, and we show that utilization of this band-bending effect can lead to a Mott insulating bulk state in the thin regime. In addition, by reconsidering previous results on the weak anti-localization (WAL) effect with additional new data, we correct a misunderstanding in the literature and generate a coherent picture of the WAL effect in TIs.
Crucible aperture: an effective way to reduce source oxidation in oxide molecular beam epitaxy process
Yong-Seung Kim,Namrata Bansal,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1116/1.3449051
Abstract: Growing multi-elemental complex-oxide structures using an MBE (Molecular Beam Epitaxy) technique requires precise control of each source flux. However, when the component elements have significantly different oxygen affinities, maintaining stable fluxes for easily oxidizing elements is challenging because of a source oxidation problem. Here, using Sr as a test source, we show that a crucible aperture insert scheme significantly reduces the source oxidation in an oxide-MBE environment. The crucible aperture insert was shaped like a disk with a hole at the center and was mounted inside the crucible; it blocks most of the oxygen species coming to the source, thus reducing the source oxidation. However, the depth of the aperture disk was critical for its performance; an ill-positioned aperture could make the flux stability even worse. With an optimally positioned aperture insert, the crucible exhibited more than four times improvement in Sr flux stability, compared to a conventional, non-apertured crucible.
Metal-insulator transition on SrTiO$_{3}$ surface induced by ionic-bombardment
Heiko Gross,Namrata Bansal,Yong-Seung Kim,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1063/1.3650254
Abstract: SrTiO$_{3}$ is one of the most popular insulating single-crystal substrates for various complex-oxide thin film growths, because of its good lattice match with many complex oxide films. Here, we show that a common thin film processing technique, argon ion-milling, creates highly conducting layer on the surface of STO, not only at room temperatures but also at cryogenic temperatures at which thermal diffusion is completely suppressed. Systematic \emph{in situ} four-point conductance measurements were taken on single-crystal STO substrates inside vacuum environment. The evolution of metallicity out of insulating STO follows simple models based on oxygen vacancy doping effect. At cryogenic temperatures, ion milling created a thin - but much thicker than the argon-penetration depth - steady-state oxygen-vacant layer, leading to a highly-concentric metallic state. Near room temperatures, however, significant thermal diffusion occurred and the metallic state continuously diffused into the bulk, leaving only low concentraion of electron carriers on the surface. Analysis of the discrepancy between the experiments and the models also provided evidence for vacany clustering, which seems to occur during any vacancy formation process and affects the observed conductance. These observations suggest that the transport properties of films processed on STO substrates using energetic methods such as ion milling need to be taken with caution. On the other hand, if properly controlled, ionic bombardment could be used as a way to create selective conducting layers on the surface of STO for device applications.
Surface versus bulk state in topological insulator Bi2Se3 under environmental disorder
Matthew Brahlek,Yong Seung Kim,Namrata Bansal,Eliav Edrey,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1063/1.3607484
Abstract: Topological insulators (TIs) are predicted to be composed of an insulating bulk state along with conducting channels on the boundary of the material. In Bi2Se3, however, the Fermi level naturally resides in the conduction band due to intrinsic doping by selenium vacancies, leading to metallic bulk states. In such non-ideal TIs it is not well understood how the surface and bulk states behave under environmental disorder. In this letter, based on transport measurements of Bi2Se3 thin films, we show that the bulk states are sensitive to environmental disorder but the surface states remain robust.
Sr flux stability against oxidation in oxide-MBE environment: flux, geometry, and pressure dependence
Y. S. Kim,Namrata Bansal,Carlos Chaparro,Heiko Gross,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1116/1.3298880
Abstract: Maintaining stable fluxes for multiple source elements is a challenging task when the source materials have significantly different oxygen affinities in a complex-oxide molecular-beam-epitaxy (MBE) environment. Considering that Sr is one of the most easily oxidized and widely used element in various complex oxides, we took Sr as a probe to investigate the flux stability problem in a number of different conditions. Source oxidation was less for higher flux, extended port geometry, and un-melted source shape. The extended port geometry also eliminated the flux transient after opening a source shutter as observed in the standard port. We also found that the source oxidation occurred more easily on the crucible wall than on the surface of the source material. Atomic oxygen, in spite of its stronger oxidation effectiveness, did not make any difference in source oxidation as compared to molecular oxygen in this geometry. Our results may provide a guide for solutions to the source oxidation problem in oxide-MBE system.
Thickness-independent transport channels in topological insulator Bi2Se3 thin films
Namrata Bansal,Yong Seung Kim,Matthew Brahlek,Eliav Edrey,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.116804
Abstract: With high quality topological insulator (TI) Bi2Se3 thin films, we report thickness-independent transport properties over wide thickness ranges. Conductance remained nominally constant as the sample thickness changed from 256 to ~8 QL (QL: quintuple layer, 1 QL = ~1 nm). Two surface channels of very different behaviors were identified. The sheet carrier density of one channel remained constant at ~3.0 x 10^13 cm^-2 down to 2 QL, while the other, which exhibited quantum oscillations, remained constant at ~8 x 10^12 cm^-2 only down to ~8 QL. The weak antilocalization parameters also exhibited similar thickness-independence. These two channels are most consistent with the topological surface states and the surface accumulation layers, respectively.
Transferring MBE-grown topological insulator films to arbitrary substrates and Metal-insulator transition via Dirac gap
Namrata Bansal,Myung Rae Cho,Matthew Brahlek,Nikesh Koirala,Yoichi Horibe,Jing Chen,Weida Wu,Yun Daniel Park,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1021/nl404363b
Abstract: Mechanical exfoliation of bulk crystals has been widely used to obtain thin topological insulator (TI) flakes for device fabrication. However, such a process produces only micro-sized flakes that are highly irregular in shape and thickness. In this work, we developed a process to transfer the entire area of TI Bi2Se3 thin films grown epitaxially on Al2O3 and SiO2 to arbitrary substrates, maintaining their pristine morphology and crystallinity. Transport measurements show that these transferred films have lower carrier concentrations and comparable or higher mobilities than before the transfer. Furthermore, using this process we demonstrated a clear metal-insulator transition in an ultrathin Bi2Se3 film by gate-tuning its Fermi level into the hybridization gap formed at the Dirac point. The ability to transfer large area TI films to any substrate will facilitate fabrication of TI heterostructure devices, which will help explore exotic phenomena such as Majorana fermions and topological magnetoelectricity.
Topological-Metal to Band-Insulator Transition in (Bi1-xInx)2Se3 Thin Films
Matthew Brahlek,Namrata Bansal,Nikesh Koirala,Su-Yang Xu,Madhab Neupane,Chang Liu,M. Zahid Hasan,Seongshik Oh
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.186403
Abstract: By combining transport and photo emission measurements on (Bi1-xInx)2Se3 thin films, we report that this system transforms from a topologically non-trivial metal into a topologically trivial band insulator through three quantum phase transitions. At x = 3-7%, there is a transition from a topologically non-trivial metal to a trivial metal. At x = 15%, the metal becomes a variable-range-hopping insulator. Finally, above x = 25%, the system becomes a true band insulator with its resistance immeasurably large even at room temperature. This material provides a new venue to investigate topologically tunable physics and devices with seamless gating/tunneling insulators.
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