Metal-insulator and charge ordering transitions in oxide nanostructures
Singh, Sujay Kumar
MetadataShow full item record
Strongly correlated oxides are a class of materials wherein interplay of various degrees of freedom results in novel electronic and magnetic phenomena. Vanadium oxides are widely studied correlated materials that exhibit metal-insulator transitions (MIT) in a wide temperature range from 70 K to 380 K. In this Thesis, results from electrical transport measurements on vanadium dioxide (VO 2 ) and vanadium oxide bronze (M x V 2 O 5 ) (where M: alkali, alkaline earth, and transition metal cations) are presented and discussed. Although the MIT in VO 2 has been studied for more than 50 years, the microscopic origin of the transition is still debated since a slew of external parameters such as light, voltage, and strain are found to significantly alter the transition. Furthermore, recent works on electrically driven switching in VO 2 have shown that the role of Joule heating to be a major cause as opposed to electric field. We explore the mechanisms behind the electrically driven switching in single crystalline nanobeams of VO 2 through DC and AC transport measurements. The harmonic analysis of the AC measurement data shows that non-uniform Joule heating causes electronic inhomogeneities to develop within the nanobeam and is responsible for driving the transition in VO 2 . Surprisingly, field assisted emission mechanisms such as Poole-Frenkel effect is found to be absent and the role of percolation is also identified in the electrically driven transition. This Thesis also provides a new insight into the mechanisms behind the electrolyte gating induced resistance modulation and the suppression of MIT in VO 2 . We show that the metallic phase of VO 2 induced by electrolyte gating is due to an electrochemical process and can be both reversible and irreversible under different conditions. The kinetics of the redox processes increase with temperature; a complete suppression of the transition and the stabilization of the metallic phase are achievable by gating in the rutile metallic phase. First principles calculations show that the destabilization of the insulating phase during the gating arises due to the formation of oxygen vacancies in VO 2 ; the rutile phase is far more amenable to electrochemical reduction as compared to the monoclinic phase, likely due to its higher electrical conductivity. The generation of oxygen vacancies appears thermodynamically favorable if the removed oxygen atoms from VO 2 oxidize the anions in the ionic liquid. Finally, electronic properties of single crystalline, individual nanowires of vanadium oxide bronzes (M x VO 2 O 5 ) are presented. The intercalation effects of metal cation and the stoichiometry (x) are explored and discussed. These nanowires exhibit thermally and electrically driven charge ordering and metal to insulator transitions. The electrolyte gating measurements show resistance modulations across the phase transition but the effect is not as dramatic as in VO 2 .