LaAlO3 thickness window for electronically controlled magnetism at LaAlO3/SrTiO3 heterointerfaces

Complex-oxide heterostructures exhibit rich physical behavior such as emergent conductivity, superconductivity, and magnetism that are intriguing for scientific reasons as well as for potential technological applications. It was recently discovered that in-plane magnetism at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 (LAO/STO) interface can be electronically controlled at room temperature. Here, we employ magnetic force microscopy to investigate electronically controlled ferromagnetism at the LAO/STO interface with LAO thickness t varied from 4 unit cell (u.c.) to 40 u.c. Magnetic signatures are observed only within a thickness window 8 u.c. ≤ t ≤ 25 u.c. Within this window, the device capacitance corresponds well to the expected geometric value, while for thicknesses outside this window, the capacitance is strongly suppressed. The ability to modulate electronic and magnetic properties of LAO/STO devices depends on the ability to control carrier density,which is in turn constrained by intrinsic tunneling mechanisms.

Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 082402 (2015)