Electron Mobility in γ-Al2 O3/SrTiO3

D. V. Christensen, Y. Frenkel, P. Schütz, F. Trier, S. Wissberg, R. Claessen, B. Kalisky, A. Smith, Y. Z. Chen, N. Pryds

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34 Scopus citations


One of the key issues in engineering oxide interfaces for electronic devices is achieving high electron mobility. SrTiO3-based interfaces with high electron mobility have gained a lot of interest due to the possibility of combining quantum phenomena with the many functionalities exhibited by SrTiO3. To date, the highest electron mobility (140 000 cm2/V s at 2 K) is obtained by interfacing perovskite SrTiO3 with spinel γ-Al2O3. The origin of the high mobility, however, remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the scattering mechanisms limiting the mobility in γ-Al2O3/SrTiO3 at temperatures between 2 and 300 K and over a wide range of sheet carrier densities. For T>150 K, we find that the mobility is limited by longitudinal optical phonon scattering. For large sheet carrier densities (>8×1013 cm-2), the screened electron-phonon coupling leads to room-temperature mobilities up to μ∼12 cm2/V s. For 5 K<T<150 K, the mobility scales as approximately T-2, consistent with electron-electron scattering limiting the electron mobility. For T<5 K and at an optimal sheet carrier density of approximately 4×1014 cm-2, the electron mobility is found to exceed 100 000 cm2/V s. At sheet carrier densities less than the optimum, the electron mobility decreases rapidly, and the current flow becomes highly influenced by domain walls and defects in the near-interface region of SrTiO3. At carrier densities higher than the optimum, the SrTiO3 heterostructure gradually becomes bulk conducting, and the electron mobility decreases to approximately 20 000 cm2/V s. We argue that the high electron mobility observed arises from a spatial separation of donors and electrons with oxygen-vacancy donors preferentially forming at the interface, whereas the itinerant electrons extend deeper into SrTiO3. Understanding the scattering mechanism in γ-Al2O3/SrTiO3 paves the way for creation of high-mobility nanoscale electronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number054004
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 May 2018

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© 2018 American Physical Society.


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