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Title: Nanoscale Origins of Ferroelastic Domain Wall Mobility in Ferroelectric Multilayers

Here we investigate the nanoscale origins of ferroelastic domain wall motion in ferroelectric multilayer thin films that lead to giant electromechanical responses. We present direct evidence for complex underpinning factors that result in ferroelastic domain wall mobility using a combination of atomic-level aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and phase-field simulations in model epitaxial (001) tetragonal (T) PbZr xTi 1-xO 3 (PZT)/rhombohedral (R) PbZr xTi 1-xO 3 (PZT) bilayer heterostructures. The local electric dipole distribution is imaged on an atomic scale for a ferroelastic domain wall that nucleates in the R-layer and cuts through the composition breaking the T/R interface. Our studies reveal a highly complex polarization rotation domain structure that is nearly on the knife-edge at the vicinity of this wall. Induced phases, namely tetragonal-like and rhombohedral-like monoclinic were observed close to the interface, and exotic domain arrangements, such as a half-four-fold closure structure, are observed. Phase field simulations show this is due to the minimization of the excessive elastic and electrostatic energies driven by the enormous strain gradient present at the location of the ferroelastic domain walls. Thus, in response to an applied stimulus, such as an electric field, any polarization reorientation must minimize the elastic and electrostaticmore » discontinuities due to this strain gradient, which would induce a dramatic rearrangement of the domain structure. This insight into the origins of ferroelastic domain wall motion will allow researchers to better “craft” such multilayered ferroelectric systems with precisely tailored domain wall functionality and enhanced sensitivity, which can be exploited for the next generation of integrated piezoelectric technologies.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW (Australia). School of Materials Science and Engineering
  2. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States). Dept of Materials Science and Engineering
  3. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States). Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)
  4. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States). Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN); Stony Brook Univ., NY (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1936-0851; R&D Project: 16060; 16060; KC0403020
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0012704; FG02-07ER46417; DMR-1420620; DMR-1210588
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Nano
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 1936-0851
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States). Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy; epitaxial thin films; ferroelastic domains; nanoscale electromechanics; nanoscale ferroelectrics
OSTI Identifier: