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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Feb 17;108(7):077203. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Conduction of topologically protected charged ferroelectric domain walls.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy and Rutgers Center for Emergent Materials, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


We report on the observation of nanoscale conduction at ferroelectric domain walls in hexagonal HoMnO(3) protected by the topology of multiferroic vortices using in situ conductive atomic force microscopy, piezoresponse force microscopy, and Kelvin-probe force microscopy at low temperatures. In addition to previously observed Schottky-like rectification at low bias [Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 217601 (2010)], conductance spectra reveal that negatively charged tail-to-tail walls exhibit enhanced conduction at high forward bias, while positively charged head-to-head walls exhibit suppressed conduction at high reverse bias. Our results pave the way for understanding the semiconducting properties of the domains and domain walls in small-gap ferroelectrics.

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