Nucleation, growth, and control of ferroelectric-ferroelastic domains in thin polycrystalline films

Ivry, Yachin and Scott, James F. and Salje, Ekhard K. H. and Durkan, Colm (2012) Nucleation, growth, and control of ferroelectric-ferroelastic domains in thin polycrystalline films. Physical Review B, 86 (20). p. 205428. DOI

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The unique response of ferroic materials to external excitations facilitates them for diverse technologies, such as nonvolatile memory devices. The primary driving force behind this response is encoded in domain switching. In bulk ferroics, domains switch in a two-step process: nucleation and growth. For ferroelectrics, this can be explained by the Kolmogorov-Avrami-Ishibashi (KAI) model. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether domains remain correlated in finite geometries, as required by the KAI model. Moreover, although ferroelastic domains exist in many ferroelectrics, experimental limitations have hindered the study of their switching mechanisms. This uncertainty limits our understanding of domain switching and controllability, preventing thin-film and polycrystalline ferroelectrics from reaching their full technological potential. Here we used piezoresponse force microscopy to study the switching mechanisms of ferroelectric-ferroelastic domains in thin polycrystalline Pb0.7Zr0.3TiO3 films at the nanometer scale. We have found that switched biferroic domains can nucleate at multiple sites with a coherence length that may span several grains, and that nucleators merge to form mesoscale domains, in a manner consistent with that expected from the KAI model.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2012AREP; IA65;
Subjects: 03 - Mineral Sciences
Divisions: 03 - Mineral Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Physical Review B
Volume: 86
Page Range: p. 205428
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2013 16:41
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:05

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