Advanced Light Source Provides a New Look at Vanadium Dioxide (http://newscenter.lbl.gov/science-shorts/2013/10/17/new-look-at-vanadium-dioxide/)
"If the origin of this metal-insulator transition is electronic, the application of an electric field should trigger the transition on a picosecond or faster time-scale," says Nagaphani Aetukuri at the IBM-Stanford Spintronic Science and Applications Center (SpinAps). "This would be the basis for an ultrafast electronic switch, in which devices would be activated so quickly that very little energy would be lost through dissipation."
To determine the origin of the metal-insulator transition of vanadium dioxide, Aetukuri and a collaboration of researchers led by
"Our results outlined the electronic properties that govern the metal-insulator transitions in vanadium dioxide and identified for the first time the respective roles of the Pi-symmetry and delta-symmetry electron orbitals," Aetukuri says. "We believe that the metallic phase of vanadium dioxide can be stabilized by populating the Pi-Symmetry orbitals, which means that engineering devices on a nanoscale that can selectively transfer electrons to the Pi-symmetry orbitals should trigger an insulator to metal transition."
This study was made possible by the X-ray beams at ALS beamline 4.0.2, which penetrated the vanadium dioxide thin films to a depth of about five nanometers, providing a bulk-sensitive probe with minimal effects from surface adsorbates.
The results of this research have been reported in the journal Nature Physics in a paper titled "Control of the Metal-Insulator Transition in Vanadium Dioxide by Modifying Orbital Occupancy." Aetukuri is the lead author, Parkin is the corresponding author.
For more about the Advanced Light Source go here (http://www-als.lbl.gov/)
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