Optical properties of LaNiO3 films tuned from compressive to tensile strain

I. Ardizzone, M. Zingl, J. Teyssier, H. U.R. Strand, O. Peil, J. Fowlie, A. B. Georgescu, S. Catalano, N. Bachar, A. B. Kuzmenko, M. Gibert, J. M. Triscone, A. Georges, D. Van Der Marel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Materials with strong electronic correlations host remarkable - and technologically relevant - phenomena such as magnetism, superconductivity, and metal-insulator transitions. Harnessing and controlling these effects is a major challenge, on which key advances are being made through lattice and strain engineering in thin films and heterostructures, leveraging the complex interplay between electronic and structural degrees of freedom. Here we show that the electronic structure of LaNiO3 can be tuned by means of lattice engineering. We use different substrates to induce compressive and tensile biaxial epitaxial strain in LaNiO3 thin films. Our measurements reveal systematic changes of the optical spectrum as a function of strain and, notably, an increase of the low-frequency free carrier weight as tensile strain is applied. Using density functional theory (DFT) calculations, we show that this apparently counterintuitive effect is due to a change of orientation of the oxygen octahedra. The calculations also reveal drastic changes of the electronic structure under strain, associated with a Fermi surface Lifshitz transition. We provide an online applet to explore these effects. The experimental value of integrated spectral weight below 2 eV is significantly (up to a factor of 3) smaller than the DFT results, indicating a transfer of spectral weight from the infrared to energies above 2 eV. The suppression of the free carrier weight and the transfer of spectral weight to high energies together indicate a correlation-induced band narrowing and free carrier mass enhancement due to electronic correlations. Our findings provide a promising avenue for the tuning and control of quantum materials employing lattice engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155148
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number15
StatePublished - 29 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


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