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Title: Field enhancement of electronic conductance at ferroelectric domain walls

Ferroelectric domain walls have continued to attract widespread attention due to both the novelty of the phenomena observed and the ability to reliably pattern them in nanoscale dimensions. But, the conductivity mechanisms remain in debate, particularly around nominally uncharged walls. Here, we posit a conduction mechanism relying on field-modification effect from polarization re-orientation and the structure of the reverse-domain nucleus. Through conductive atomic force microscopy measurements on an ultra-thin (001) BiFeO 3 thin film, in combination with phase-field simulations, we show that the field-induced twisted domain nucleus formed at domain walls results in local-field enhancement around the region of the atomic force microscope tip. In conjunction with slight barrier lowering, these two effects are sufficient to explain the observed emission current distribution. Our results suggest that different electronic properties at domain walls are not necessary to observe localized enhancement in domain wall currents.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [4] ;  [5] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science, Inst. for Functional Imaging of Materials
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science, Inst. for Functional Imaging of Materials; Xi'an Jiaotong Univ. (China). Multi-disciplinary Materials Research Center, Frontier Inst. of Science and Technology
  3. National Cheng Kung Univ., Tainan City (Taiwan). Dept. of Physics
  4. National Chiao Tung Univ., Hsinchu (Taiwan). Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering; Academia Sinica, Taipei (Taiwan). Inst. of Physics
  5. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; FG02-07ER46417
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; ferroelectrics and multiferroics; nanoscale materials
OSTI Identifier:
1414693