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Title: Electric-field-induced local and mesoscale structural changes in polycrystalline dielectrics and ferroelectrics

In this study, the atomic-scale response of dielectrics/ferroelectrics to electric fields is central to their functionality. Here we introduce an in situ characterization method that reveals changes in the local atomic structure in polycrystalline materials under fields. The method employs atomic pair distribution functions (PDFs), determined from X-ray total scattering that depends on orientation relative to the applied field, to probe structural changes over length scales from sub-Ångstrom to several nanometres. The PDF is sensitive to local ionic displacements and their short-range order, a key uniqueness relative to other techniques. The method is applied to representative ferroelectrics, BaTiO3 and Na½Bi½TiO3, and dielectric SrTiO3. For Na½Bi½TiO3, the results reveal an abrupt field-induced monoclinic to rhombohedral phase transition, accompanied by ordering of the local Bi displacements and reorientation of the nanoscale ferroelectric domains. For BaTiO3 and SrTiO3, the local/nanoscale structural changes observed in the PDFs are dominated by piezoelectric lattice strain and ionic polarizability, respectively.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
  2. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (United States)
  3. UNSW Australia, Sydney (Australia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY ferroelectrics and multiferroics; structure of solids and liquids