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Nat Commun. 2016 Feb 3;7:10636. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10636.

Ferroelastic switching in a layered-perovskite thin film.

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Department of Physics, Beijing Normal University, 100875 Beijing, China.
EMAT (Electron Microscopy for Materials Science), University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerpen, Belgium.
Institute of Microstructures and Properties of Advanced Materials, Beijing University of Technology, 100124 Beijing, China.
State Key Laboratory of New Ceramics and Fine Processing, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China.
Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology, Institute of Microelectronics, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China.
National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and CAS Key Laboratory of Materials for Energy Conversion, University of Science and Technology of China, 230026 Hefei, China.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, 94720 Berkeley, California, USA.
Beijing National Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science, 100190 Beijing, China.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, 16802 Pennsylvania, USA.


A controllable ferroelastic switching in ferroelectric/multiferroic oxides is highly desirable due to the non-volatile strain and possible coupling between lattice and other order parameter in heterostructures. However, a substrate clamping usually inhibits their elastic deformation in thin films without micro/nano-patterned structure so that the integration of the non-volatile strain with thin film devices is challenging. Here, we report that reversible in-plane elastic switching with a non-volatile strain of approximately 0.4% can be achieved in layered-perovskite Bi2WO6 thin films, where the ferroelectric polarization rotates by 90° within four in-plane preferred orientations. Phase-field simulation indicates that the energy barrier of ferroelastic switching in orthorhombic Bi2WO6 film is ten times lower than the one in PbTiO3 films, revealing the origin of the switching with negligible substrate constraint. The reversible control of the in-plane strain in this layered-perovskite thin film demonstrates a new pathway to integrate mechanical deformation with nanoscale electronic and/or magnetoelectronic applications.

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