Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Cheng Cen

Committee Member

Lian Li

Committee Member

Aldo Romero

Committee Member

Mikel Holcomb

Committee Member

Matthew Johnson

Committee Member

Nianqiang Wu


This dissertation focuses on nanoscale phase manipulations of Vanadium Dioxide. Nanoscale control of material properties is a current obstacle for the next generation of optoelectronic and photonic devices. Vanadium Dioxide is a strongly correlated material with an insulator-metal phase transition at approximately 345 K that generates dramatic electronic and optical property changes. However, the development of industry device application based on this phenomenon has been limited thus far due to the macroscopic scale and the volatile nature of the phase transition. In this work these limitations are assessed and circumvented.

A home-built, variable temperature, scanning near-field optical microscope was engineered for Vanadium Dioxide manipulations and detections. Using this instrument, various scanning probe lithography based methods are implemented to induce new nanoscale phases. Three new phase transitions are discovered; a monoclinic metallic at the nanoscale, a rutile metallic metastable phase, and a van der Waals layered insulator. These new phases are studied and characterized to further understand phase manipulations in strongly correlated materials. One of the new phase transitions, monoclinic metallic, showcases plasmonic excitations. This phenomenon is used to demonstrate various nanoplasmonic devices such as rewritable waveguides, spatially modulated resonators, and reconfigurable planar optics. Finally, Oxygen Vacancy diffusion of the monoclinic structure is monitored to determine the temporal limitation for device applications. The discovery, demonstration, and study of these phases clearly shows the ability to manipulate Vanadium Dioxide on the nanoscale for the first time. Phase control is accomplished under ambient conditions and is stable over long periods of time. This technology opens the door for multifunctional device application using strongly correlated materials.