Impact of domains on the dielectric and electromechanical properties of ferroelectric thin films

S. Trolier-McKinstry, P. Aungkavattana, F. Chu, J. Lacey, J. P. Maria, J. F. Shepard, T. Su, F. Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In ferroelectric ceramic thin films for capacitive and piezoelectric applications, it is important to understand which mechanisms contribute to the observed dielectric constant and piezoelectricity. Recent studies on bulk ceramics have demonstrated that the number of domain variants within grains, and the mobility of the twin walls depend on the grain size. This leads to a degradation in the dielectric and piezoelectric properties for grain sizes below a micron. To investigate these factors, controlled stress levels were imposed on PZT (PbZr1-xTixO3) films of different thickness while the dielectric and electromechanical properties were measured. It was found that for undoped sol-gel PZT 40/60, 52/48, and 60/40 thin films under a micron in thickness, the extrinsic contributions to the dielectric and electromechanical properties make very modest contributions to the film response. Comparable results were obtained from laser ablated films grown from hard and soft PZT targets. Little twin wall mobility was observed in AFM experiments. The consequences of this in terms of the achievable properties in PZT films are presented. Work on circumventing these limitations via utilization of antiferroelectric phase switching films and relaxor ferroelectric single crystal films are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
EventProceedings of the 1997 MRS Fall Symposium - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Nov 30 1997Dec 4 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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