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Electric-Field-Assisted Nanostructuring of a Mott Insulator

Authors

  • Vincent Dubost,

    1. Institut des Nanosciences de Paris (INSP), CNRS UMR 75-88 Université Paris 6 (UPMC) 140 rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris (France)
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  • Tristan Cren,

    1. Institut des Nanosciences de Paris (INSP), CNRS UMR 75-88 Université Paris 6 (UPMC) 140 rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris (France)
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  • Cristian Vaju,

    1. Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel (IMN), Université de Nantes, CNRS 2 rue de la Houssinière, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3 (France)
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  • Laurent Cario,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel (IMN), Université de Nantes, CNRS 2 rue de la Houssinière, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3 (France)
    • Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel (IMN), Université de Nantes, CNRS 2 rue de la Houssinière, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3 (France).
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  • Benoit Corraze,

    1. Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel (IMN), Université de Nantes, CNRS 2 rue de la Houssinière, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3 (France)
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  • Etienne Janod,

    1. Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel (IMN), Université de Nantes, CNRS 2 rue de la Houssinière, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3 (France)
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  • François Debontridder,

    1. Institut des Nanosciences de Paris (INSP), CNRS UMR 75-88 Université Paris 6 (UPMC) 140 rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris (France)
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  • Dimitri Roditchev

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut des Nanosciences de Paris (INSP), CNRS UMR 75-88 Université Paris 6 (UPMC) 140 rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris (France)
    • Institut des Nanosciences de Paris (INSP), CNRS UMR 75-88 Université Paris 6 (UPMC) 140 rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris (France).
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Abstract

Here, the first experimental evidence for a strong electromechanical coupling in the Mott insulator GaTa4Se8 that allows highly reproducible nanoscaled writing by means of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) is reported. The local electric field across the STM junction is observed to have a threshold value above which the clean (100) surface of GaTa4Se8 becomes mechanically instable: at voltage biases >1.1 V, the surface suddenly inflates and comes in contact with the STM tip, resulting in nanometer-sized craters. The formed pattern can be indestructibly “read” by STM at a lower voltage bias, thus allowing 5 Tdots inch−2 dense writing/reading at room temperature. The discovery of the electromechanical coupling in GaTa4Se8 might give new clues in the understanding of the electric pulse induced resistive switching recently observed in this stoichiometric Mott insulator.

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