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Nat Mater. 2015 Jan;14(1):79-86. doi: 10.1038/nmat4119. Epub 2014 Oct 26.

Ferroelectric polarization reversal via successive ferroelastic transitions.

Author information

1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
2
The Makineni Theoretical Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6323, USA.
3
1] Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA [2] Materials Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Abstract

Switchable polarization makes ferroelectrics a critical component in memories, actuators and electro-optic devices, and potential candidates for nanoelectronics. Although many studies of ferroelectric switching have been undertaken, much remains to be understood about switching in complex domain structures and in devices. In this work, a combination of thin-film epitaxy, macro- and nanoscale property and switching characterization, and molecular dynamics simulations are used to elucidate the nature of switching in PbZr(0.2)Ti(0.8)O3 thin films. Differences are demonstrated between (001)-/(101)- and (111)-oriented films, with the latter exhibiting complex, nanotwinned ferroelectric domain structures with high densities of 90° domain walls and considerably broadened switching characteristics. Molecular dynamics simulations predict both 180° (for (001)-/(101)-oriented films) and 90° multi-step switching (for (111)-oriented films) and these processes are subsequently observed in stroboscopic piezoresponse force microscopy. These results have implications for our understanding of ferroelectric switching and offer opportunities to change domain reversal speed.

PMID:
25344784
DOI:
10.1038/nmat4119

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