Insulator to metal transition in WO3 induced by electrolyte gating

Authors: X. Leng, J. Pereiro, J. Strle, G. Dubuis, A. T. Bollinger, A. Gozar, J. Wu, N. Litombe, Christos Panagopoulos , D. Pavuna and I. Božović

Published in: npj Quantum Materials , 2017.

Tungsten oxide and its associated bronzes (compounds of tungsten oxide and an alkali metal) are well known for their interesting optical and electrical characteristics. We have modified the transport properties of thin WO3 films by electrolyte gating using both ionic liquids and polymer electrolytes. We are able to tune the resistivity of the gated film by more than five orders of magnitude, and a clear insulator-to-metal transition is observed. To clarify the doping mechanism, we have performed a series of incisive operando experiments, ruling out both a purely electronic effect (charge accumulation near the interface) and oxygen-related mechanisms. We propose instead that hydrogen intercalation is responsible for doping WO3 into a highly conductive ground state and provide evidence that it can be described as a dense polaronic gas.

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