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Research Highlight | Materials Science Division

Ferroelectric domain wall motion in freestanding single-crystal complex oxide thin film

In a study published in Advanced Materials, researchers studied the effect of interfacial bond‐breaking on the dynamic and static behavior of ferroelectric domain walls, as well as the local structural properties.

Scientific Achievement

Scanning probe microscopy reveals a drastic reduction of domain wall velocity in single-crystal complex oxides when interfacial bonds with the heteroepitaxial substrate are broken, to create a freestanding thin film.

Significance and Impact

We shed the first light on the local energy landscape and domain wall dynamics in mechanical boundary-free complex oxide layers. This will help to understand the intrinsic dynamic properties of complex oxides.

Research Details

  • We created freestanding layers of epitaxial PbZr0.2Ti0.8O3 (0.4-100 nm thick) using a selective wet etching technique.

  • We performed piezoresponse, electrostatic force and microwave impedance microscopy to probe domain wall motion, width and roughness, local capacitance and surface polarization. Results are explained by flexoelectric effects due to nanoscale ripples in freestanding films, as evidenced by atomic force microscopy and hard x-ray nanoprobe studies.

DOI10.1002/adma.201907036

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