Water printing of ferroelectric polarization

Yu Tian, Lanying Wei, Qinghua Zhang, Houbing Huang, Yuelin Zhang, Hua Zhou, Fengjie Ma, Lin Gu, Sheng Meng, Long Qing Chen, Ce Wen Nan, Jinxing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Ferroelectrics, which generate a switchable electric field across the solid–liquid interface, may provide a platform to control chemical reactions (physical properties) using physical fields (chemical stimuli). However, it is challenging to in-situ control such polarization-induced interfacial chemical structure and electric field. Here, we report that construction of chemical bonds at the surface of ferroelectric BiFeO3 in aqueous solution leads to a reversible bulk polarization switching. Combining piezoresponse (electrostatic) force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning transmission electron microscopy, first-principles calculations and phase-field simulations, we discover that the reversible polarization switching is ascribed to the sufficient formation of polarization-selective chemical bonds at its surface, which decreases the interfacial chemical energy. Therefore, the bulk electrostatic energy can be effectively tuned by H+/OH concentration. This water-induced ferroelectric switching allows us to construct large-scale type-printing of polarization using green energy and opens up new opportunities for sensing, high-efficient catalysis, and data storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3809
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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