Indexed on: 23 Dec '15Published on: 23 Dec '15Published in: Scientific Reports
Emergent phases in the two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) formed at the interface between two insulating oxides have attracted great attention in the past decade. We present ab-initio electronic structure calculations for the interface between a Mott insulator GdTiO3 (GTO) and a band insulator SrTiO3 (STO) and compare our results with those for the widely studied LaAlO3/SrTiO3 (LAO/STO) interface between two band insulators. Our GTO/STO results are in excellent agreement with experiments, but qualitatively different from LAO/STO. We find an interface carrier density of 0.5 e(-)/Ti, independent of GTO thickness in both superlattice and thin film geometries, in contrast to LAO/STO. The superlattice geometry in LAO/STO offers qualitatively the same result as in GTO/STO. On the other hand, for a thin film geometry, the interface carrier density builds up only beyond a threshold thickness of LAO. The positive charge at the vacuum surface that compensates the 2DEG at the interface also exhibits distinct behaviors in the two systems. The compensating positive charge at the exposed surface of GTO charge disproportionates due to correlation effect making the surface insulating as opposed to that in LAO which remains metallic within band theory and presumably becomes insulating due to surface disorder or surface reconstruction.