The effect of gold capping on magnetic and transport properties of optimally doped manganite thin films is studied. An extraordinary suppression of conductivity and magnetic properties occurs in epitaxial (001) La_0. 67Sr_0. 33MnO_3 (LSMO) films grown on SrTiO_3 upon deposition of 2 nm of Au: in the case of ultrathin films of LSMO (4 nm thick) the resistivity increases by four orders of magnitude while the Curie temperature decreases by 180 K. Zero-field 55Mn nuclear magnetic resonance reveals a significant reduction of ferromagnetic double-exchange mechanism in manganite films upon the gold capping. We find evidence for the formation of a 1.9-nm thick magnetic" dead-layer" at the Au/LSMO interface, associated with the creation of interfacial non double-exchange insulating phases.
13 May 2008
arXiv preprint arXiv:0805.1813