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Title: Ferroelastic Nanodomain-mediated Mechanical Switching of Ferroelectricity in Thick Epitaxial Films
Authors: Li, Qian
Wang, Bo
He, Qian 
Yu, Pu
Chen, Long-Qing
Kalinin, Sergei
Li, Jing-Feng
Keywords: Science & Technology
Physical Sciences
Chemistry, Multidisciplinary
Chemistry, Physical
Nanoscience & Nanotechnology
Materials Science, Multidisciplinary
Physics, Applied
Physics, Condensed Matter
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Materials Science
ferroelectric thin films
polarization switching
mechanical switching
piezoreponse force microscopy
phase-field simulation
Issue Date: 13-Jan-2021
Citation: Li, Qian, Wang, Bo, He, Qian, Yu, Pu, Chen, Long-Qing, Kalinin, Sergei, Li, Jing-Feng (2021-01-13). Ferroelastic Nanodomain-mediated Mechanical Switching of Ferroelectricity in Thick Epitaxial Films. NANO LETTERS 21 (1) : 445-452. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Mechanical switching of ferroelectric polarization, typically realized via a scanning probe, holds promise in (multi)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 a100 nm thick Pb(Zr0.2Ti0.8)O3 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° 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.
Source Title: NANO LETTERS
ISSN: 15306984
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c03875
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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