Letter abstract

Nature Nanotechnology 4, 732 - 737 (2009)
Published online: 13 September 2009 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2009.266

Subject Categories: Electronic properties and devices | NEMS | Structural properties

Strain engineering and one-dimensional organization of metal–insulator domains in single-crystal vanadium dioxide beams

J. Cao1,2, E. Ertekin3, V. Srinivasan3, W. Fan1,4, S. Huang1, H. Zheng2,5, J. W. L. Yim1,2, D. R. Khanal1,2, D. F. Ogletree2,6, J. C. Grossman3 & J. Wu1,2,3

Correlated electron materials can undergo a variety of phase transitions, including superconductivity, the metal–insulator transition and colossal magnetoresistance1. Moreover, multiple physical phases or domains with dimensions of nanometres to micrometres can coexist in these materials at temperatures where a pure phase is expected2. Making use of the properties of correlated electron materials in device applications will require the ability to control domain structures and phase transitions in these materials. Lattice strain has been shown to cause the coexistence of metallic and insulating phases in the Mott insulator VO2. Here, we show that we can nucleate and manipulate ordered arrays of metallic and insulating domains along single-crystal beams of VO2 by continuously tuning the strain over a wide range of values. The Mott transition between a low-temperature insulating phase and a high-temperature metallic phase usually occurs at 341 K in VO2, but the active control of strain allows us to reduce this transition temperature to room temperature. In addition to device applications, the ability to control the phase structure of VO2 with strain could lead to a deeper understanding of the correlated electron materials in general.

  1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
  2. Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
  3. Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
  4. Department of Thermal Science and Energy Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
  5. National Centre for Electron Microscopy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
  6. Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA

Correspondence to: J. Wu1,2,3 e-mail: wuj@berkeley.edu


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