A stable oxidized structure and an improved method of making such a structure, including an improved method of making an interfacial template for growing a crystalline metal oxide structure, are disclosed. The improved method comprises the steps of providing a substrate with a clean surface and depositing a metal on the surface at a high temperature under a vacuum to form a metal-substrate compound layer on the surface with a thickness of less than one monolayer. The compound layer is then oxidized by exposing the compound layer to essentially oxygen at a low partial pressure and low temperature. The method may further comprise the step of annealing the surface while under a vacuum to further stabilize the oxidized film structure. A crystalline metal oxide structure may be subsequently epitaxially grown by using the oxidized film structure as an interfacial template and depositing on the interfacial template at least one layer of a crystalline metal oxide.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0676RL01830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.