Domain topology and domain switching kinetics in a hybrid improper ferroelectric

F. T. Huang, F. Xue, B. Gao, L. H. Wang, X. Luo, W. Cai, X. Z. Lu, J. M. Rondinelli, L. Q. Chen, S. W. Cheong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Charged polar interfaces such as charged ferroelectric walls or heterostructured interfaces of ZnO/(Zn,Mg)O and LaAlO3/SrTiO3, across which the normal component of electric polarization changes suddenly, can host large two-dimensional conduction. Charged ferroelectric walls, which are energetically unfavourable in general, were found to be mysteriously abundant in hybrid improper ferroelectric (Ca,Sr) 3 Ti2O7 crystals. From the exploration of antiphase boundaries in bilayer-perovskites, here we discover that each of four polarization-direction states is degenerate with two antiphase domains, and these eight structural variants form a Z4 × Z2 domain structure with Z 3 vortices and five distinct types of domain walls, whose topology is directly relevant to the presence of abundant charged walls. We also discover a zipper-like nature of antiphase boundaries, which are the reversible creation/annihilation centres of pairs of two types of ferroelectric walls (and also Z3-vortex pairs) in 90° and 180° polarization switching. Our results demonstrate the unexpectedly rich nature of hybrid improper ferroelectricity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11602
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - May 24 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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