Proliferation of metallic domains caused by inhomogeneous heating near the electrically driven transition in VO2 nanobeams
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2015 American Physical Society. We discuss the mechanisms behind the electrically driven insulator-metal transition in single-crystalline VO2 nanobeams. Our dc and ac transport measurements and the versatile harmonic analysis method employed show that nonuniform Joule heating causes electronic inhomogeneities to develop within the nanobeam and is responsible for driving the transition in VO2. A Poole-Frenkel-like purely electric-field-induced transition is found to be absent, and the role of percolation near and away from the electrically driven transition in VO2 is also identified. The results and the harmonic analysis can be generalized to many strongly correlated materials that exhibit electrically driven transitions.