Epitaxial strain effect on the J eff = 1/2 moment orientation in Sr 2 IrO 4 thin films

Ludi Miao, Hong Xu, Z. Q. Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We have grown Sr2IrO4 (SIO) epitaxial thin films on SrTiO3 (STO) and NdGaO3 (NGO) substrates by a pulsed laser deposition method and characterized their structures and magnetic properties. We find that SIO films grown on STO substrates display tetragonal structure with a tensile strain of 0.13%, while SIO films grown on NGO substrates exhibit slightly orthorhombic structure with anisotropic biaxial tensile strains of 0.39% and 0.51% along the in-plane crystallographic axes. Although both films display insulating properties as bulk SIO does, their magnetic properties are distinct from that of bulk SIO. The ferromagnetic (FM) component of the Jeff = 1/2 canted antiferromagnetic order, which emerges below ∼240 K in bulk SIO, is significantly weakened in both films, with a greater weakening appearing in the SIO/NGO film. From structural and magnetoresistance anisotropy analyses for both films, we reveal that the weak FM component in SIO films is dependent on the epitaxial strain. The greater tensile strain leads to a smaller octahedral rotation: The rotation angle is ∼9.7(1) for the SIO/NGO film and ∼10.7(2) for the SIO/STO film. These findings indicate that the Jeff = 1/2 moment orientation in SIO follows the IrO6 octahedral rotation due to strong spin-orbit interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035109
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 8 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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