UV radiation enhanced oxygen vacancy formation caused by the PLD plasma plume
Pulsed Laser Deposition is a commonly used non-equilibrium physical deposition technique for the growth of complex oxide thin films. A wide range of parameters is known to influence the properties of the used samples and thin films, especially the oxygen-vacancy concentration. One parameter has up to this point been neglected due to the challenges of separating its influence from the influence of the impinging species during growth: the UV-radiation of the plasma plume. We here present experiments enabled by a specially designed holder to allow a separation of these two influences. The influence of the UV-irradiation during pulsed laser deposition on the formation of oxygen-vacancies is investigated for the perovskite model material SrTiO3. The carrier concentration of UV-irradiated samples is nearly constant with depth and time. By contrast samples not exposed to the radiation of the plume show a depth dependence and a decrease in concentration over time. We reveal an increase in Ti-vacancy-oxygen-vacancy-complexes for UV irradiated samples, consistent with the different carrier concentrations. We find a UV enhanced oxygen-vacancy incorporation rate as responsible mechanism. We provide a complete picture of another influence parameter to be considered during pulsed laser depositions and unravel the mechanism behind persistent-photo-conductivity in SrTiO3.