Image Number 5 for United States Patent #8076662.
Phase transitions (such as metal-insulator transitions) are induced in oxide structures (such as vanadium oxide thin films) by applying an electric field. The electric field-induced phase transitions are achieved in VO.sub.2 structures that scale down to nanometer range. In some embodiments, the optical and/or dielectric properties of the oxide structures are actively tuned by controllably varying the applied electric field. Applying a voltage to a single-phase oxide material spontaneously leads to the formation of insulating and conducting regions within the active oxide material. The dimensions and distributions of such regions can be dynamically tuned by varying the applied electric field and/or the temperature. In this way, oxide materials with dynamically tunable optical and/or dielectric properties are created.