Noise Spectroscopy in Strongly Correlated Oxides
Alsaqqa, Ali M.
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Strongly correlated materials are an interesting class of materials, thanks to the novel electronic and magnetic phenomena they exhibit as a result of the interplay of various degrees of freedom. This gives rise to an array of potential applications, from Mott-FET to magnetic storage. Many experimental probes have been used to study phase transitions in strongly correlated oxides. Among these, resistance noise spectroscopy, together with conventional transport measurements, provides a unique viewpoint to understand the microscopic dynamics near the phase transitions in these oxides. In this thesis, utilizing noise spectroscopy and transport measurements, four different strongly correlated materials were studied: (1) neodymium nickel oxide (NdNiO 3 ) ultrathin films, (2) vanadium dioxide (VO 2 ) microribbons, (3) copper vanadium bronze (Cu x V 2 O 5 ) microribbons and (4) niobium triselenide (NbSe 3 ) microribbons. Ultra thin films of rare-earth nickelates exhibit several temperature-driven phase transitions. In this thesis, we studied the metal-insulator and Néel transitions in a series of NdNiO3 films with different lattice mismatches. Upon colling down, the metal-insulator phase transition is accompanied by a structural (orthorohombic to monoclinic) and magnetic (paramagnetic to antiferromagnetic) transitions as well, making the problem more interesting and complex at the same time. The noise is of the 1/f type and is Gaussian in the high temperature phase, however deviations are seen in the low temperature phases. Below the metal-insulator transition, noise magnitude increases by orders of magnitude: a sign of inhomogeneous electrical conduction as result of phase separation. This is further assured by the non-Gaussian noise signature. At very low temperatures (T < 50 K), the noise behavior switches between Gaussian and non-Gaussian over several hours, possibly arising from dynamically competing ground states. VO 2 is one of the most widely studied strongly correlated oxides and is important from the fundamental physics point of view and for applications. Its transition from a metal to an insulator (MIT) with simple application of voltage is quite interesting. For use in applications, e.g. transistors, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the MIT. Equally important is the question of whether the thermally- and electrically-driven transitions have the same origin. In this thesis, we tried to answer this question by utilizing three different tuning parameters: temperature, voltage bias and strain. Our results point to an unusual noise behavior in the high-temperature metallic phase, and provide valuable insight into the transport dynamics of this material. Cu x V 2 O 5 exhibit a metal-insulator transition and, more interestingly, a superconductivity transition. Unlike VO 2 , copper vanadium bronzes are much less studied and many questions are still open, including the possibility of charge ordering transition, just like in other members of the vanadium family. In this thesis, we studied this material and found evidences for charge ordering transitions and possibly other transitions as well. The last material, NbSe 3 , is a prototypical example of charge density wave systems, where Peierls transitions exist. Here, we study the effects of contacts on resistance noise in the 1D limit. The study aimed to confirm that the electric field threshold is sample length independent, to find out if there is a relation between contact separation and the noise generated and to explore the characteristics of the contact noise. The results confirm that the electric field threshold is independent of the sample length. It was also found that the separation between the contacts does not affect the noise. Finally, the contact noise is of the 1/f-type and has a Gaussian distribution. These results are timely for future device applications utilizing NbSe 3 .