• Schunck, J.O.; Döring, F.; Rösner, B.; Buck, J.; Engel, R.Y.; Miedema, P.S.; Mahatha, S.K.; Hoesch, M.; Petraru, A.; Kohlstedt, H.; Schüßler-Langeheine, C.; Rossnagel, K.; David, C.; Beye, M.: Microstructure effects on the phase transition behavior of a prototypical quantum material. Scientific Reports 12 (2022), p. 10464/1-7

Open Access Version

Materials with insulator-metal transitions promise advanced functionalities for future information technology. Patterning on the microscale is key for miniaturized functional devices, but material properties may vary spatially across microstructures. Characterization of these miniaturized devices requires electronic structure probes with sufficient spatial resolution to understand the influence of structure size and shape on functional properties. The present study demonstrates the use of imaging soft X-ray absorption spectroscopy with a spatial resolution better than 2 μm to study the insulator-metal transition in vanadium dioxide thin-film microstructures. This novel technique reveals that the transition temperature for the conversion from insulating to metallic vanadium dioxide is lowered by 1.2 K ± 0.4 K close to the structure edges compared to the center. Facilitated strain release during the phase transition is discussed as origin of the observed behavior. The experimental approach enables a detailed understanding of how the electronic properties of quantum materials depend on their patterning at the micrometer scale.