Mechanical-force-induced non-local collective ferroelastic switching in epitaxial lead-titanate thin films

Xiaoyan Lu, Zuhuang Chen, Ye Cao, Yunlong Tang, Ruijuan Xu, Sahar Saremi, Zhan Zhang, Lu You, Yongqi Dong, Sujit Das, Hangbo Zhang, Limei Zheng, Huaping Wu, Weiming Lv, Guoqiang Xie, Xingjun Liu, Jiangyu Li, Lang Chen, Long Qing Chen, Wenwu CaoLane W. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Ferroelastic switching in ferroelectric/multiferroic oxides plays a crucial role in determining their dielectric, piezoelectric, and magnetoelectric properties. In thin films of these materials, however, substrate clamping is generally thought to limit the electric-field- or mechanical-force-driven responses to the local scale. Here, we report mechanical-force-induced large-area, non-local, collective ferroelastic domain switching in PbTiO3 epitaxial thin films by tuning the misfit-strain to be near a phase boundary wherein c/a and a1/a2 nanodomains coexist. Phenomenological models suggest that the collective, c-a-c-a ferroelastic switching arises from the small potential barrier between the degenerate domain structures, and the large anisotropy of a and c domains, which collectively generates much larger response and large-area domain propagation. Large-area, non-local response under small stimuli, unlike traditional local response to external field, provides an opportunity of unique response to local stimuli, which has potential for use in high-sensitivity pressure sensors and switches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3951
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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