Size effects and domains in ferroelectric thin film actuators

S. Trolier-McKinstry, C. A. Randall, J. P. Maria, C. Theis, D. G. Schlom, J. Shepard, K. Yamakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Ferroelectric thin films typically differ from bulk ceramics in terms of both the average grain size and the degree of stress imposed on the film by the substrate. Studies on bulk ceramics have demonstrated that the number of domain variants within grains depends on the grain size for sizes < approximately 1 μm. This can diminish the poling efficiency of the material. Since most thin films show primary grain sizes well below a micron, similar effects should be observed in films. In addition, since the perovskite ferroelectrics contain ferroelastic as well as ferroelectric domains, it seems clear that stress in thin films may markedly alter the degree to which domain walls contribute to the observed properties. In this paper, the relative importance of these factors are discussed for several types of ferroelectric thin films. Films have been prepared by pulsed laser deposition, magnetron sputtering, and by sol-gel processing. It has been found that epitaxial BaTiO3 films are ferroelectric at 77 K down to thicknesses as low as approximately 60 nm. Data on the low and high field electrical properties are reported as a function of temperature, the film crystallinity, and film thickness for representative perovskite films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-374
Number of pages12
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - 1996
EventProceedings of the 1996 MRS Spring Symposium - San Francisco, CA, USA
Duration: Apr 7 1996Apr 12 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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