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Title: Alkali-deficiency driven charged out-of-phase boundaries for giant electromechanical response
Authors: Wu, Haijun 
Ning, Shoucong 
Waqar, Moaz
Liu, Huajun
Zhang, Yang
Wu, Hong-Hui
Li, Ning
Wu, Yuan
Yao, Kui
Lookman, Turab
Ding, Xiangdong
Sun, Jun
Wang, John 
Pennycook, Stephen J. 
Issue Date: 14-May-2021
Publisher: Nature Research
Citation: Wu, Haijun, Ning, Shoucong, Waqar, Moaz, Liu, Huajun, Zhang, Yang, Wu, Hong-Hui, Li, Ning, Wu, Yuan, Yao, Kui, Lookman, Turab, Ding, Xiangdong, Sun, Jun, Wang, John, Pennycook, Stephen J. (2021-05-14). Alkali-deficiency driven charged out-of-phase boundaries for giant electromechanical response. Nature Communications 12 (1) : 2841. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Traditional strategies for improving piezoelectric properties have focused on phase boundary engineering through complex chemical alloying and phase control. Although they have been successfully employed in bulk materials, they have not been effective in thin films due to the severe deterioration in epitaxy, which is critical to film properties. Contending with the opposing effects of alloying and epitaxy in thin films has been a long-standing issue. Herein we demonstrate a new strategy in alkali niobate epitaxial films, utilizing alkali vacancies without alloying to form nanopillars enclosed with out-of-phase boundaries that can give rise to a giant electromechanical response. Both atomically resolved polarization mapping and phase field simulations show that the boundaries are strained and charged, manifesting as head-head and tail-tail polarization bound charges. Such charged boundaries produce a giant local depolarization field, which facilitates a steady polarization rotation between the matrix and nanopillars. The local elastic strain and charge manipulation at out-of-phase boundaries, demonstrated here, can be used as an effective pathway to obtain large electromechanical response with good temperature stability in similar perovskite oxides. © 2021, The Author(s).
Source Title: Nature Communications
ISSN: 2041-1723
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23107-x
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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