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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 May 28;104(21):217601. Epub 2010 May 24.

Polarization-modulated rectification at ferroelectric surfaces.

Author information

1
Rutgers Center for Emergent Materials and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA. wdwu@physics.rutgers.edu

Abstract

By correlating room temperature conductive atomic force microscopy with low temperature electrostatic force microscopy images of the same sample region, we demonstrate that nanoscale electric conduction between a sharp tip and the surface of ferroelectric HoMnO3 is intrinsically modulated by the polarization of ferroelectric domains. Conductance spectra reveal that the electric conduction is described by polarization-induced Schottky-like rectification at low bias, but dominated by a space-charge limited conduction mechanism at high bias. Our observation demonstrates visualization of ferroelectric domain structure by electric conduction, which may be used for nondestructive readout of nanoscale ferroelectric memories and/or ferroelectric sensors.

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