Ferroelastic Nanodomain-mediated Mechanical Switching of Ferroelectricity in Thick Epitaxial Films

Mechanical switching of ferroelectric polarization, typically realized via a scanning probe, holds promise in (multi)ferroic ferroic device applications. Whereas strain gradient-associated flexoelectricity has been regarded to be accountable for mechanical switching in ultrathin (<10 nm) films, such mechanism can hardly be extended to thicker materials due to intrinsic short operating lengths of flexoelectricity. Here, we demonstrate robust mechanical switching in similar to 100 nm thick Pb(Zr0.2Ti0.8)O-3 epitaxial films with a characteristic microstructure consisting of nanosized ferroelastic domains. Through a combination of multiscale structural characterizations, piezoresponse force microscopy, and phase-field simulations, we reveal that the ferroelastic nanodomains effectively mediate the 180 degrees switching nucleation in a dynamical manner during tip scanning. Coupled with microstructure engineering, this newly revealed mechanism could boost the utility of mechanical switching through extended material systems. Our results also provide insight into competing polarization switching pathways in complex ferroelectric materials, essential for understanding their electromechanical response.



Work Title Ferroelastic Nanodomain-mediated Mechanical Switching of Ferroelectricity in Thick Epitaxial Films
Open Access
  1. Qian Li
  2. Bo Wang
  3. Qian He
  4. Pu Yu
  5. Long-Qing Chen
  6. Sergei V. Kalinin
  7. Jing-Feng Li
  1. Ferroelectric thin films
  2. Polarization switching
  3. Mechanical switching
  4. Piezoreponse force microscopy
  5. Phase-field simulation
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Nano Letters
Publication Date 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c03875
Deposited August 10, 2022




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Updated
  • Added Creator Sandra Elder
  • Added Ferroelastic Nanodomain-mediated Mechanical Switching of Ferroelectricity in Thick Epitaxial Films.pdf
  • Updated License Show Changes
    • https://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Publisher, Publisher Identifier (DOI), and 1 more Show Changes
    • Ferroelectric thin films, Polarization switching, Mechanical switching, Piezoreponse force microscopy, Phase-field simulation
    • Nano Letters
    Publisher Identifier (DOI)
    • https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c03875
    Publication Date
    • 2021-01-13
    • 2021
  • Deleted Creator Sandra Elder
  • Added Creator Qian Li
  • Added Creator Bo Wang
  • Added Creator Qian He
  • Added Creator Pu Yu
  • Added Creator Long-Qing Chen
  • Added Creator Sergei V. Kalinin
  • Added Creator Jing-Feng Li