Regina Ciancio is responsible of Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory at CNR-IOM and of users training on the use of electron microscopes, as well as of the technological activities in support of commercial services for industrial users.
Her research activity is focused on the nanostructural characterization by High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and High resolution X-ray Diffraction (XRD) of nanostructured materials with a special emphasis on oxide thin films and heterostructures.
Quantum materials are central for the development of novel functional systems that are often based on interface specific phenomena. Fabricating controlled interfaces between quantum materials requires adopting a flexible growth technique capable to synthesize different materials within a single-run deposition process with high control of structure, stoichiometry, and termination. Among the various available thin film growth technologies, pulsed laser deposition (PLD) allows controlling the growth of diverse materials at the level of single atomic layers. In PLD the atomic species are supplied through an ablation process of a stoichiometric target either in form of polycrystalline powders or of a single crystal. No carrier gases are needed in the deposition process. The ablation process is compatible with a wide range of background pressure. We present results of thin-film growth by PLD obtained by using an Nd:YAG infrared pulsed laser source operating at its first harmonics. With respect to the traditional PLD systems—based on excimer KrF UV-lasers—optimal conditions for the growth of thin films and heterostructures are reached at large target-to-substrate distance. Merits and limitations of this approach for growing oxide and non-oxide thin films are discussed. The merits of an Nd:YAG laser to grow very high-quality thin films suggest the possibility of implementing compact in-situ setups e.g. integrated with analytical instrumentation under ultra-high vacuum conditions.
Coatings, 11, 276, (2021)
Direct-ARPES and STM Investigation of FeSe Thin Film Growth by Nd:YAG Laser
S.K. Chaluvadi, D. Mondal, C. Bigi, J. Fujii, R. Adhikari, R. Ciancio, A. Bonanni, G. Panaccione, G. Rossi, I. Vobornik and P. Orgiani
Research on ultrathin quantum materials requires full control of the growth and surface quality of the specimens in order to perform experiments on their atomic structure and electron states leading to ultimate analysis of their intrinsic properties. We report results on epitaxial FeSe thin films grown by pulsed laser deposition (PLD) on CaF2 (001) substrates as obtained by exploiting the advantages of an all-in-situ ultra-high vacuum (UHV) laboratory allowing for direct high-resolution surface analysis by scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM), synchrotron radiation X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) on fresh surfaces. FeSe PLD growth protocols were fine-tuned by optimizing target-to-substrate distance d and ablation frequency, atomically flat terraces with unit-cell step heights are obtained, overcoming the spiral morphology often observed by others. In-situ ARPES with linearly polarized horizontal and vertical radiation shows hole-like and electron-like pockets at the Γ and M points of the Fermi surface, consistent with previous observations on cleaved single crystal surfaces. The control achieved in growing quantum materials with volatile elements such as Se by in-situ PLD makes it possible to address the fine analysis of the surfaces by in-situ ARPES and XPS. The study opens wide avenues for the PLD based heterostructures as work-bench for the understanding of proximity-driven effects and for the development of prospective devices based on combinations of quantum materials.
From our users
ACS Appl. Mater. Inter., 12, 47556–47563, (2020)
Improved structural properties in homogeneously doped Sm0.4Ce0.6O2-δ epitaxial thin films: high doping effect on the electronic bands
N. Yang, D. Knez, G. Vinai, P. Torelli, R. Ciancio, P. Orgiani, and C. Aruta
The study of ionic materials on nanometer scale is of great relevance for efficient miniaturized devices for energy applications. The epitaxial growth of thin films can be a valid route to tune the properties of the materials and thus obtain new degrees of freedom in materials design. High crystal quality SmxCe1-xO2-δ films are here reported at high doping level up to x=0.4, thanks to the good lat-tice matching with the (110) oriented NdGaO3 substrate. X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy demonstrate the ordered structural quality and absence of Sm segregation at macroscopic and atomic level, respectively. Therefore, in epitaxial thin films the homogeneous doping can be obtained even with high dopant content not always approachable in bulk form, getting even an improvement of the structural properties. In situ spectroscopic measurements by x-ray photoemission and x-ray absorption show the O 2p band shift towards the Fermi level which can favor the oxygen exchange and vacancy formation on the surface when the Sm doping is increased to x=0.4. X-ray absorption spectroscopy also confirms the absence of ordered oxygen vacancy clusters and further reveals that the 5d eg and t2g states are well separated by the crystal field in the undistorted local structure even in the case of high doping level x=0.4.
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NFFA is a Progetto Internazionale financed by MIUR through CNR
(Istituto Officina dei Materiali, Trieste) and Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste
and managed by the Commissione NFFA chaired by Giorgio Rossi
(Università di Milano and IOM-CNR).