Although the strong coupling of polarization to spontaneous strain in ferroelectrics would impart a flux-closure with severe disclination strains, recent studies have successfully stabilized such a domain via a nano-scaled multi-layer growth. Nonetheless, the detailed distributions of polarizations in three-dimensions (3D) and how the strains inside a flux closure affect the structures of domain walls are still less understood. Here we report a 3D polarization texture of a 4-fold flux closure domain identified in tensile strained ferroelectric PbTiO3/SrTiO3 multilayer films. Ferroelectric displacement analysis based on aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopic imaging reveals highly inhomogeneous strains with strain gradient above 107/m. These giant disclination strains significantly broaden the 90° domain walls, while the flexoelectric coupling at 180° domain wall is less affected. The present observations are helpful for understanding the basics of topological dipole textures and indicate novel applications of ferroelectrics through engineering strains.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Materials Science
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering