Molecular Beam Epitaxy Synthesis and Investigation of Iron-based Quantum Materials
Ren, Zheng. “Molecular Beam Epitaxy Synthesis and Investigation of Iron-based Quantum Materials”, Boston College, 2022. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109457.
The splendid world of quantum materials is being unveiled in modern condensed matter physics, thanks to the advanced material synthesis methods, refined experimental probing techniques and deeper theoretical understanding. Unconventional superconductivity and topological phenomena are two of the main themes in this realm. Many outstanding problems are waiting to be solved and there is also a great potential in future technological applications. Among many routes of studying the quantum materials, creating thin film structures provides a special opportunity to learn the physical properties in low dimensions, to explore the effect of substrate and strain and to make novel electronic devices.In this thesis, I will present successful molecular beam epitaxy thin film synthesis of: (1) unconventional superconductor FeSe, (2) topological insulator Bi2Se3 doped with magnetic Fe atoms and (3) kagome structure magnets FeSn and Fe3Sn2. For (1), I will describe the finding of a dislocation network, its impact on the spatially-modulated strain field and its interesting interplay with the spontaneous symmetry-broken nematic phase. This is a new finding in the FeSe/SrTiO3 heterostructure and also provides fresh insights in the understandings of nematicity. For (2), I will show how we cross-check the doping ratio using different characterization techniques. Our observation indicates the possible formation of Fe clusters or impurity phases and sets the foundation for future synthesis of similar structures. For (3), I will demonstrate the novel selective synthesis of FexSny thin films. A plethora of spectral features were found in Fe3Sn2, implying a link with the Weyl physics. The FexSny thin films can potentially be a platform for the exploration of correlated, topological quantum phases in low dimensions.