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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The exceedingly strong two-dimensional ferromagnetism in bi-atomic layer SrRuO3 with a critical conduction transition


In recent years, few-layer or even monolayer ferromagnetic materials have drawn a great deal of attention due to the promising integration of two-dimensional (2D) magnets into next-generation spintronic devices. The SrRuO3 monolayer is a rare example of stable 2D magnetism under ambient conditions, but only weak ferromagnetism or antiferromagnetism has been found. The bi-atomic layer SrRuO3 as another environmentally inert 2D magnetic system has been paid less attention heretofore. Here we study both the bi-atomic layer and monolayer SrRuO3 in (SrRuO3)n/(SrTiO3)m (n = 1, 2) superlattices in which the SrTiO3 serves as a non-magnetic and insulating space layer. Although the monolayer exhibits arguably weak ferromagnetism, we find that the bi-atomic layer exhibits exceedingly strong ferromagnetism with a Tc of 125 K and a saturation magnetization of 1.2 µB/Ru, demonstrated by both superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometry and element-specific X-ray circular dichroism. Moreover, in the bi-atomic layer SrRuO3, we demonstrate that random fluctuations and orbital reconstructions inevitably occurring in the 2D limit are critical to the electrical transport, but are much less critical to the ferromagnetism. Our study demonstrates that the bi-atomic layer SrRuO3 is an exceedingly strong 2D ferromagnetic oxide which has great potentials for applications of ultracompact spintronic devices. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

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