Manipulating the insulator–metal transition through tip-induced hydrogenation
Linglong Li, Meng Wang, Yadong Zhou, Yang Zhang, Fan Zhang, Yongshun Wu, Yujia Wang, Yingjie Lyu, Nianpeng Lu, Guopeng Wang, Huining Peng, Shengchun Shen, Yingge Du, Zihua Zhu, Ce-Wen Nan & Pu Yu
Nature Materials volume 21, pages 1246–1251 (2022)Cite this article
Manipulating the insulator–metal transition in strongly correlated materials has attracted a broad range of research activity due to its promising applications in, for example, memories, electrochromic windows and optical modulators1,2. Electric-field-controlled hydrogenation using ionic liquids3,4,5,6 and solid electrolytes7,8,9 is a useful strategy to obtain the insulator–metal transition with corresponding electron filling, but faces technical challenges for miniaturization due to the complicated device architecture. Here we demonstrate reversible electric-field control of nanoscale hydrogenation into VO2 with a tunable insulator–metal transition using a scanning probe. The Pt-coated probe serves as an efficient catalyst to split hydrogen molecules, while the positive-biased voltage accelerates hydrogen ions between the tip and sample surface to facilitate their incorporation, leading to non-volatile transformation from insulating VO2 into conducting HxVO2. Remarkably, a negative-biased voltage triggers dehydrogenation to restore the insulating VO2. This work demonstrates a local and reversible electric-field-controlled insulator–metal transition through hydrogen evolution and presents a versatile pathway to exploit multiple functional devices at the nanoscale.