In-Situ Probing of Coupled Atomic Restructuring and Metallicity of Oxide Heterointerfaces Induced by Polar Adsorbates.
Microscopic understanding of the surface-controlled conductivity of the two dimensional electron gas at complex oxide interfaces is crucial for developing functional interfaces. We observe conductivity and structural modification using in-situ synchrotron surface x-ray diffraction as the surface of a model LaAlO3/SrTiO3 (001) heterostructure is changed by polar adsorbates. We find that polar adsorbate-induced interfacial metallicity reduces polar distortions in the LaAlO3 layer. First-principles density functional theory calculations show that surface dipoles introduced by polar adsorbates lead to additional charge transfer and the reduction of polar displacements in the LaAlO3 layer, consistent with the experimental observations. Our study supports that internalmore »