We report the observation of a two-dimensional electron system (2DES) at the (110) surface of the transparent bulk insulator SnO2 and the tunability of its carrier density by means of temperature or Eu deposition. The 2DES is insensitive to surface reconstructions and, surprisingly, it survives even after exposure to ambient conditions- A n extraordinary fact recalling the well known catalytic properties SnO2. Our data show that surface oxygen vacancies are at the origin of such 2DES, providing key information about the long-debated origin of n-type conductivity in SnO2, at the basis of a wide range of applications. Furthermore, our study shows that the emergence of a 2DES in a given oxide depends on a delicate interplay between its crystal structure and the orbital character of its conduction band.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics