Superconductivity and charge carrier localization in ultrathin $\mathbf{{La_{1.85}Sr_{0.15}CuO_4}/{La_2CuO_4}}$ bilayers

$\mathrm{La_{1.85}Sr_{0.15}CuO_4}$/$\mathrm{La_2CuO_4}$ (LSCO15/LCO) bilayers with a precisely controlled thickness of N unit cells (UCs) of the former and M UCs of the latter ([LSCO15\_N/LCO\_M]) were grown on (001)-oriented {\slao} (SLAO) substrates with pulsed laser deposition (PLD). X-ray diffraction and reciprocal space map (RSM) studies confirmed the epitaxial growth of the bilayers and showed that a [LSCO15\_2/LCO\_2] bilayer is fully strained, whereas a [LSCO15\_2/LCO\_7] bilayer is already partially relaxed. The \textit{in situ} monitoring of the growth with reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED) revealed that the gas environment during deposition has a surprisingly strong effect on the growth mode and thus on the amount of disorder in the first UC of LSCO15 (or the first two monolayers of LSCO15 containing one $\mathrm{CuO_2}$ plane each). For samples grown in pure $\mathrm{N_2O}$ gas (growth type-B), the first LSCO15 UC next to the SLAO substrate is strongly disordered. This disorder is strongly reduced if the growth is performed in a mixture of $\mathrm{N_2O}$ and $\mathrm{O_2}$ gas (growth type-A). Electric transport measurements confirmed that the first UC of LSCO15 next to the SLAO substrate is highly resistive and shows no sign of superconductivity for growth type-B, whereas it is superconducting for growth type-A. Furthermore, we found, rather surprisingly, that the conductivity of the LSCO15 UC next to the LCO capping layer strongly depends on the thickness of the latter. A LCO capping layer with 7~UCs leads to a strong localization of the charge carriers in the adjacent LSCO15 UC and suppresses superconductivity. The magneto-transport data suggest a similarity with the case of weakly hole doped LSCO single crystals that are in a so-called {"{cluster-spin-glass state}"}


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