Materials by design: Experimental and computational realization of artificial oxide materials

Search for novel strategies and materials is nowadays key to keep with the present race towards electronic device miniaturization. In this context, transition metal oxides arise as attractive candidates for next generation devices due to the variety of physical properties they display (i.e. magnetism, superconductivity, etc.). In addition to the many functionalities of bulk oxide crystals, very fascinating are also the phenomena occurring at the interface between two dissimilar oxides. That is, when an oxide layer (only a few atoms thick) grows on top of another one, the two compounds must accommodate to the new structural and electronic environment resulting into interfacial reconstructions. This approach allows the further tuning and control of the properties of oxides and, interestingly, also paves the way to the emergence of novel properties at interfaces that can be completely different from those exhibited by the parent compounds. Outstanding examples include the emergence of superconductivity between the insulators LaAlO3 and SrTiO3 or magnetism in a material a priori non-magnetic like LaNiO3 – both results reported by the PIs of this proposal. Therefore, atomic-scale understanding of the interfacial interactions is decisive for the design of oxide materials with the desired properties. This research field is known as oxide interface physics and constitutes the core of the present proposal.

In this project, we aim to intensify the research and share expertise in the novel properties of oxides by promoting the collaboration between the well-established UNIGE group of Prof. Jean-Marc Triscone and the recently developing group of SNF-Prof. Marta Gibert at UZH. We will also extend our collaboration with the computational group of Philippe Ghosez in Liège (Belgium) – the ab-initio computational support for these artificial materials being absolutely key.


SNF Prof. Marta Gibert, University of Zurich

Prof. Jean-Marc Triscone, University of Geneva

Claribel Dominguez, University of Geneva

Gabriele De Luca, University of Zurich