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Author ORCID ID is 0000000153546152
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  1. Time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF SIMS) is one of the most powerful characterization tools allowing imaging of the chemical properties of various systems and materials. It allows precise studies of the chemical composition with sub-100-nm lateral and nanometer depth spatial resolution. However, comprehensive interpretation of ToF SIMS results is challengeable, because of the data volume and its multidimensionality. Furthermore, investigation of the samples with pronounced topographical features are complicated by the spectral shift. In this work we developed approach for the comprehensive ToF SIMS data interpretation based on the data analytics and automated extraction of the samplemore » topography based on time of flight shift. We further applied this approach to investigate correlation between biological function and chemical composition in Arabidopsis roots.« less
  2. Flexoelectricity refers to electric polarization generated by heterogeneous mechanical strains, namely strain gradients, in materials of arbitrary crystal symmetries. Despite more than 50 years of work on this effect, an accurate identification of its coupling strength remains an experimental challenge for most materials, which impedes its wide recognition. Here, we show the presence of flexoelectricity in the recently discovered polar vortices in PbTiO 3 /SrTiO 3 superlattices based on a combination of machine-learning analysis of the atomic-scale electron microscopy imaging data and phenomenological phase-field modeling. By scrutinizing the influence of flexocoupling on the global vortex structure, we match theory andmore » experiment using computer vision methodologies to determine the flexoelectric coefficients for PbTiO 3 and SrTiO 3. Here, our findings highlight the inherent, nontrivial role of flexoelectricity in the generation of emergent complex polarization morphologies and demonstrate a viable approach to delineating this effect, conducive to the deeper exploration of both topics.« less
  3. 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 themore » 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.« less
  4. Oxygen vacancies, especially their distribution, are directly coupled to the electromagnetic properties of oxides and related emergent functionalities that have implications for device applications. Here using a homoepitaxial strontium titanate thin film, we demonstrate a controlled manipulation of the oxygen vacancy distribution using the mechanical force from a scanning probe microscope tip. By combining Kelvin probe force microscopy imaging and phase-field simulations, we show that oxygen vacancies can move under a stress-gradient-induced depolarisation field. When tailored, this nanoscale flexoelectric effect enables a controlled spatial modulation. In motion, the scanning probe tip thereby deterministically reconfigures the spatial distribution of vacancies. Finally,more » the ability to locally manipulate oxygen vacancies on-demand provides a tool for the exploration of mesoscale quantum phenomena and engineering multifunctional oxide devices.« less
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  6. Ferroelectric and ferroelastic domain walls play important roles in ferroelectric properties. However, their couplings with flexoelectricity have been less understood. Here, we applied phase-field simulation to investigate the flexoelectric coupling with ferroelectric a/c twin structures in lead ziconate titanate thin films. Local stress gradients were found to exist near twin walls that created both lateral and vertical electric fields through the flexoelectric effect, resulting in polarization inclinations from either horizontal or normal orientation, polarization rotation angles deviated from 90°, and consequently highly asymmetric a/c twin walls. Furthermore, by tuning the flexoelectric strengths in a reasonable range from first-principles calculations, wemore » found that the transverse flexoelectric coefficient has a larger influence on the polarization rotation than longitudinal and shear coefficients. And as polar rotations that commonly occur at compositional morphotropic phase boundaries contribute to the piezoelectric enhancement, this work calls for further exploration of alternative strain-engineered polar rotations via flexoelectricity in ferroelectric thin films.« less
  7. Here, ferroelectric materials have remained one of the major focal points of condensed matter physics and materials science for over 50 years. In the last 20 years, the development of voltage-modulated scanning probe microscopy techniques, exemplified by Piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) and associated time- and voltage spectroscopies, opened a pathway to explore these materials on a single-digit nanometer level. Consequently, domain structures and walls and polarization dynamics can now be imaged in real space. More generally, PFM has allowed studying electromechanical coupling in a broad variety of materials ranging from ionics to biological systems.
  8. Ferroelectricity on the nanoscale has been the subject of much fascination in condensed-matter physics for over half a century. In recent years, multiple reports claiming ferroelectricity in ultrathin ferroelectric films based on the formation of remnant polarization states, local electromechanical hysteresis loops, and pressure-induced switching were made. But, similar phenomena were reported for traditionally non-ferroelectric materials, creating a significant level of uncertainty in the field. We show that in nanoscale systems the ferroelectric state is fundamentally inseparable from the electrochemical state of the surface, leading to the emergence of a mixed electrochemical–ferroelectric state. We explore the nature, thermodynamics, and thicknessmore » evolution of such states, and demonstrate the experimental pathway to establish its presence. Our analysis reconciles multiple prior studies, provides guidelines for studies of ferroelectric materials on the nanoscale, and establishes the design paradigm for new generations of ferroelectric-based devices.« less
  9. Here, atomic force microscopy (AFM) methods utilizing resonant mechanical vibrations of cantilevers in contact with a sample surface have shown sensitivities as high as few picometers for detecting surface displacements. Such a high sensitivity is harnessed in several AFM imaging modes. Here, we demonstrate a cantilever-resonance-based method to quantify electrostatic forces on a probe in the probe-sample junction in the presence of a surface potential or when a bias voltage is applied to the AFM probe. We find that the electrostatic forces acting on the probe tip apex can produce signals equivalent to a few pm of surface displacement. Inmore » combination with modeling, the measurements of the force were used to access the strength of the electrical field at the probe tip apex in contact with a sample. We find an evidence that the electric field strength in the junction can reach ca. 1 V nm –1 at a bias voltage of a few volts and is limited by non-ideality of the tip-sample contact. This field is sufficiently strong to significantly influence material states and kinetic processes through charge injection, Maxwell stress, shifts of phase equilibria, and reduction of energy barriers for activated processes. Besides, the results provide a baseline for accounting for the effects of local electrostatic forces in electromechanical AFM measurements as well as offer additional means to probe ionic mobility and field-induced phenomena in solids.« less
  10. Polarization switching in ferroelectric and multiferroic materials underpins a broad range of current and emergent applications, ranging from random access memories to field-effect transistors, and tunnelling devices. Switching in these materials is exquisitely sensitive to local defects and microstructure on the nanometre scale, necessitating spatially resolved high-resolution studies of these phenomena. Classical piezoresponse force microscopy and spectroscopy, although providing necessary spatial resolution, are fundamentally limited in data acquisition rates and energy resolution. This limitation stems from their two-tiered measurement protocol that combines slow (~1 s) switching and fast (~10 kHz–1 MHz) detection waveforms. Here we develop an approach for rapidmore » probing of ferroelectric switching using direct strain detection of material response to probe bias. This approach, facilitated by high-sensitivity electronics and adaptive filtering, enables spectroscopic imaging at a rate 3,504 times faster the current state of the art, achieving high-veracity imaging of polarization dynamics in complex microstructures.« less

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