Direct Imaging of the Relaxation of Individual Ferroelectric Interfaces in a Tensile-Strained Film

Linglong Li, Ye Cao, Suhas Somnath, Yaodong Yang, Stephen Jesse, Yoshitaka Ehara, Hiroshi Funakubo, Long Qing Chen, Sergei V. Kalinin, Rama K. Vasudevan

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8 Scopus citations


Understanding the dynamic behavior of interfaces in ferroic materials is an important field of research with widespread practical implications, as the motion of domain walls and phase boundaries are associated with substantial increases in dielectric and piezoelectric effects. Although commonly studied in the macroscopic regime, the local dynamics of interfaces have received less attention, with most studies limited to domain growth and/or reversal by piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM). Here, spatial mapping of local domain wall-related relaxation in a tensile-strained PbTiO3 thin film using time-resolved band-excitation PFM is demonstrated, which allows exploring of the field-induced strain (piezoresponse) as a function of applied voltage and time. Through multivariate statistical analysis on the resultant 4-dimensional dataset (x,y,V,t) with functional fitting, it is determined that the relaxation is strongly correleated with the distance to the domain walls, and varies based on the type of domain wall present in the probed volume. Phase-field modeling shows the relaxation behavior near and away from the interfaces, and confirms the modulation of the z-component of polarization by wall motion, yielding the observed piezoresponse relaxation. These studies shed light on the local dynamics of interfaces in ferroelectric thin films, and are therefore important for the design of ferroelectric-based components in microelectromechanical systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1600508
JournalAdvanced Electronic Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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