a1 IFW Dresden, PF 270116, 01171 Dresden, Germany
a2 Institut für Festkörperforschung and Ernst Ruska Centrum, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
This article presents a (scanning) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) study of Mn valency and its structural origin at La0.7Sr0.3MnO3/SrTiO3(0 0 1) thin film interfaces. Mn valency deviations can lead to a breakdown of ferromagnetic order and thus lower the tunneling magnetoresistance of tunnel junctions. Here, at the interface, a Mn valency reduction of 0.16 ± 0.10 compared to the film interior and an additional feature at the low energy-loss flank of the Mn-L3 line have been observed. The latter may be attributed to an elongation of the (0 0 1) plane spacing at the interface detected by geometrical phase analysis of high-resolution images. Regarding the interface geometry, high-resolution high-angle annular dark-field scanning TEM images reveal an atomically sharp interface in some regions whereas the transition appears broadened in others. This can be explained by the presence of steps. The performed measurements indicate that, among the various structure-related influences on the valency, the atomic layer termination and the local oxygen content are most important.
(Received November 13 2008)
(Accepted January 12 2009)