We report that epitaxial Sr2IrO4 thin-films can be selectively grown using pulsed laser deposition (PLD). Due to the competition between the Ruddlesden-Popper phases of strontium iridates (Srn+1IrnO3n+1), conventional PLD methods often result in mixed phases of Sr2IrO4 (n = 1), Sr3Ir2O7 (n = 2), and SrIrO3 (n = ∞). We have discovered that reduced PLD plume dimensions and slow deposition rates are the key for stabilizing pure Sr2IrO4 phase thin-films, identified by real-time in-situ monitoring of their optical spectra. The slow film deposition results in a thermodynamically stable TiO2\\SrO\IrO2\SrO\SrO configuration at an interface rather than TiO2\\SrO\SrO\IrO2\SrO between a TiO2-terminated SrTiO3 substrate and a Sr2IrO4 thin film, which is consistent with other layered oxides grown by molecular beam epitaxy. Our approach provides an effective method for using PLD to achieve pure phase thin-films of layered materials that are susceptible to several energetically competing phases.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Applied Physics Letters, v. 109, issue 20, 201901, p. 1-4.

This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing.

The following article appeared in Applied Physics Letters 109, 201901 (2016), and may be found at https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4967450.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

We acknowledge the support of National Science Foundation Grant No. DMR-1454200 for sample synthesis and characterizations.

Related Content

See supplementary material for a photograph of focused laser beam spot images and in-situ optical spectra of a STO substrate at 700 °C and room temperature.

1.4953154_supplementary.pdf (139 kB)
Supplementary Material