Abstract

Despite an intense research effort, the physical mechanism underlying the formation of a quasi-two-dimensional electron gas at the interface between the band insulators LaAlO3 and SrTiO3 is still not fully understood. Interface-sensitive optical second-harmonic spectroscopy can shed light on this mechanism, by accessing specific information on the orbital and structural reconstruction taking place at the interface that is not accessible by other techniques, and in particular by transport measurements. Here we present a detailed theoretical analysis of the spectral transitions that are most relevant in the second-order nonlinear optical response of oxide interfaces with a square symmetry, in general. In particular, we discuss the case of LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interfaces, using symmetry arguments to derive specific selection rules, which have strong consequences on the second-harmonic spectra recorded with different input/output polarization combinations of light. These selection rules may in particular explain recent experimental findings.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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