The potential growth modes for epitaxial growth of Fe3O4 on SrTiO3(001) are investigated through control of the energetics of the pulsed-laser deposition growth process (via substrate temperature and laser fluence). We find that Fe3O4 grows epitaxially in three distinct growth modes: 2D-like, island, and 3D-to-2D, the last of which is characterized by films that begin growth in an island growth mode before progressing to a 2D growth mode. Films grown in the 2D-like and 3D-to-2D growth modes are atomically flat and partially strained, while films grown in the island growth mode are terminated in islands and fully relaxed. We find that the optimal structural, transport, and magnetic properties are obtained for films grown on the 2D-like/3D-to-2D growth regime boundary. The viability for including such thin films in perovskite-based all-oxide devices is demonstrated by growing a Fe3O4/La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 spin valve epitaxially on SrTiO3.
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