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Friday 24 Feb 2017Radical Property Enhancements in Functional Oxide Thin Films from Insulators to Superconductors

Prof Judith Driscoll - Cambridge

Harrison 004 14:30-15:30

Since the discovery of high temperature superconductivity in perovskite oxides in 1986, the unearthing of a huge range of physical phenomena in transition metal oxides (TMOs) has been nothing short of remarkable, e.g. new magnetics, ferroelectrics, multiferroics, semiconductors, transparent conductors, calorics, plasmonics, catalysts, ionic conductors. Nearly 150,000 papers were published on the topic ‘oxide+thin film’ in the last 10 years, not far from the number published on graphene in this same period. However, there are few applications of complex oxide thin films today. The underlying reason is the lack of understanding of the materials, in terms of their defective nature and in terms of how to engineer them to be perfect and strained optimally. As stated in a recent perspective publication by the EU commission about emerging applications, “we have passed from the perception that materials are in the drawer to the realisation that materials are the bottleneck”. Addressing the oxide thin film bottleneck is long overdue. This talk will discuss new insight into oxide thin films. Then solutions to the problem from the author will be presented, with examples given of unprecedented functional property enhancements in systems such as ferroelectrics, ferromagnetics and ionics. Examples will also be given of the author’s work in the area of oxide superconductors which has enabled applications to take off.

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