Thick lead-free ferroelectric films with high Curie temperatures through nanocomposite-induced strain

Sophie A. Harrington, Junyi Zhai, Sava Denev, Venkatraman Gopalan, Haiyan Wang, Zhenxing Bi, Simon A.T. Redfern, Seung Hyub Baek, Chung W. Bark, Chang Beom Eom, Quanxi Jia, Mary E. Vickers, Judith L. MacManus-Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


Ferroelectric materials are used in applications ranging from energy harvesting to high-power electronic transducers. However, industry-standard ferroelectric materials contain lead, which is toxic and environmentally unfriendly. The preferred alternative, BaTiO3, is non-toxic and has excellent ferroelectric properties, but its Curie temperature of ∼1/4130 °C is too low to be practical. Strain has been used to enhance the Curie temperature of BaTiO3 (ref. 4) and SrTiO3 (ref. 5) films, but only for thicknesses of tens of nanometres, which is not thick enough for many device applications. Here, we increase the Curie temperature of micrometre-thick films of BaTiO3 to at least 330 °C, and the tetragonal-to-cubic structural transition temperature to beyond 800 °C, by interspersing stiff, self-assembled vertical columns of Sm2O 3 throughout the film thickness. The columns, which are 10 nm in diameter, strain the BaTiO3 matrix by 2.35%, forcing it to maintain its tetragonal structure and resulting in the highest BaTiO3 transition temperatures so far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-495
Number of pages5
JournalNature nanotechnology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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