Oxygen vacancy migration in compressively strained SrTiO3

Raied AL-Hamadany, JP Goss, PR Briddon, Shahin A Mojarad, Meaad AL-Hadidi, MJ Rayson and AG O'Neill
Journal of Applied Physics

The intrinsic properties of strontium titanate render it promising in applications such as gate dielectrics and capacitors. However, there is growing evidence that oxygen vacancies significantly impact upon its use, with the diffusion and deep donor level of the oxygen vacancy leading to electrical leakage. Where grown epitaxially on a lattice mismatched substrate, SrTiO3 undergoes bi-axial strain, altering its crystal structure and electronic properties. In this paper, we present the results of first-principles simulations to evaluate the impact of strain in a (001) plane upon the migration of oxygen vacancies. We show that in the range of strains consistent with common substrate materials, diffusion energies in different directions are significantly affected, and for high values of strain may be altered by as much as a factor of two. The resulting diffusion anisotropy is expected to impact upon the rate at which oxygen vacancies are injected into the films under bias, a critical factor in the leakage and resistive switching seen in this material.

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