Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Pritish Mukherjee, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Sarath Witanachchi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert S. F. Chang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Srikanth Hariharan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

George S. Nolas, Ph.D.


iv, fesi, cosi, temperature dependence, resistance, magnetoresistance


A metal-to-insulating transition has been observed in iron, iron oxide, iron silicide and cobalt silicide thin films when deposited on Si substrate with a native SiOx layer. This transition produced a change in resistance of 5 orders of magnitude at a temperature of 250 K. To the best of the author's knowledge, this effect has not been reported in the literature prior to this study. This work reports a systematic experimental investigation carried out to understand the fundamental mechanism involved in the manifestation of this metal-to-insulator transition. The films were deposited using the pulsed laser deposition technique (PLD) in a base vacuum of the order of 10-6 torr at 400o C and room temperature. Several experiments were systematically conducted to understand the nature of the transition and the current path. Deposition of films on different substrates and the deposition of different transition metal films were made to narrow down the physical origin of the transition in the sample. Temperature-dependent resistance measurements not only exhibited a transition but also suggested more than one conduction mechanism. This is confirmed by the data collected for the IV curves. Current and voltage have a linear relation at temperatures greater than the transition temperature, and a non-linear relation at lower temperatures. Magnetoresistance (MR) measurements revealed a quadratic dependence of the resistance on the applied magnetic field. This is an indication that the MR observed is due to Lorentz forces acting on the charge carriers. Transmission electron microscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy have identified different layers that are believed to be responsible for the observed transition.