Ferroelectric heterostructures, with capability of storing data at ultrahigh densities, could act as the platform for next-generation memories. The development of new device paradigms has been hampered by the long-standing notion of inevitable ferroelectricity suppression under reduced dimensions. Despite recent experimental observation of stable polarized states in ferroelectric ultrathin films, the out-of-plane polarization components in these films are strongly attenuated compared to thicker films, implying a degradation of device performance in electronic miniaturization processes. Here, in a model system of BiFeO3/La0.7Sr0.3MnO3, we report observation of a dramatic out-of-plane polarization enhancement that occurs with decreasing film thickness. Our electron microscopy analysis coupled with phase-field simulations reveals a polarization-enhancement mechanism that is dominated by the accumulation of oxygen vacancies at interfacial layers. The results shed light on the interplay between polarization and defects in nanoscale ferroelectrics and suggest a route to enhance functionality in oxide devices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Chemistry
- General Materials Science
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering