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Effect of growth induced (non)stoichiometry on the structure, dielectric response, and thermal conductivity of SrTiO 3 thin films

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We report dramatic variations in cation stoichiometry in SrTiO 3 thin films grown via pulsed laser deposition and the implications of this nonstoichiometry for structural, dielectric, and thermal properties. The chemical composition of SrTiO 3 thin films was characterized via X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry. These studies reveal that deviations in laser fluence and deposition geometry can result in deviations of cation stoichiometry as large as a few percent. Additionally, X-ray diffraction was used to probe structural evolution and revealed an asymmetric strain relaxation mechanism in which films possessing Sr-excess undergo relaxation before those possessing Sr-deficiency. Furthermore, the dielectric constant decreases and the loss tangent increases with increasing nonstoichiometry with intriguing differences between Sr-excess and -deficiency. Thermal conductivity is also found to be sensitive to nonstoichiometry, with Sr-excess and -deficiency resulting in 65% and 35% reduction in thermal conductivity, respectively. These trends are explained by the expected defect structures. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

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