Superconductor to Mott insulator transition in YBa2Cu3O7/LaCaMnO3 heterostructures.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/srep33184
The superconductor-to-insulator transition (SIT) induced by means such as external magnetic fields, disorder or spatial confinement is a vivid illustration of a quantum phase transition dramatically affecting the superconducting order parameter. In pursuit of a new realization of the SIT by interfacial charge transfer, we developed extremely thin superlattices composed of high Tc superconductor YBa2Cu3O7 (YBCO) and colossal magnetoresistance ferromagnet La0.67Ca0.33MnO3 (LCMO). By using linearly polarized resonant X-ray absorption spectroscopy and magnetic circular dichroism, combined with hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we derived a complete picture of the interfacial carrier doping in cuprate and manganite atomic layers, leading to the transition from superconducting to an unusual Mott insulating state emerging with the increase of LCMO layer thickness. In addition, contrary to the common perception that only transition metal ions may respond to the charge transfer process, we found that charge is also actively compensated by rare-earth and alkaline-earth metal ions of the interface. Such deterministic control of Tc by pure electronic doping without any hindering effects of chemical substitution is another promising route to disentangle the role of disorder on the pseudo-gap and charge density wave phases of underdoped cuprates.