Effect of the two (100) SrTiO3 substrate terminations on the nucleation and growth of YBa2Cu3O7-δ thin films

J. M. Huijbregtse, J. H. Rector, B. Dam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, threading dislocations were identified as the origin of the high critical currents in YBa2Cu3O7-δ films [Nature (Lond.) 399 (1999) 439]. As these dislocations originate at the substrate-film interface, the termination of the (100) SrTiO3 substrate is expected to influence both the nucleation and the dislocation formation in YBa2Cu3O7-δ (123) films. To investigate this substrate-film interaction, we developed a new ex situ method to prepare SrO-terminated substrates in addition to the well-known TiO2 termination. It is shown that: (i) preferential precipitation occurs when depositing submonolayer 123 films on SrO-terminated SrTiO3 and (ii) such precipitates are absent on the TiO2 termination. It appears that the substrate termination determines both the starting and terminating layer of the 123 phase. Similar effects are observed in submonolayer thick films with cation stoichiometries of 122, 124 and 133. When growing several 123 monolayers on SrO-terminated substrates, no precipitates are formed. Instead, to incorporate the off stoichiometry, defects are introduced. Surprisingly, the density of threading dislocations does not depend on the substrate termination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-199
Number of pages17
JournalPhysica C: Superconductivity and its Applications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dave Blank and Guus Rijnders (University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands) for fruitful discussions and supplying the SrO target. This work is part of the research program of FOM (stichting Fundamenteel Onderzoek der Materie), which is financially supported by NWO (stichting Nederlands Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek).


  • Dislocations
  • Precipitates
  • SrTiO substrate termination
  • YBaCuO films


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