High-density array of ferroelectric nanodots with robust and reversibly switchable topological domain states

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Science Advances  18 Aug 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 8, e1700919
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700919

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The exotic topological domains in ferroelectrics and multiferroics have attracted extensive interest in recent years due to their novel functionalities and potential applications in nanoelectronic devices. One of the key challenges for these applications is a realization of robust yet reversibly switchable nanoscale topological domain states with high density, wherein spontaneous topological structures can be individually addressed and controlled. This has been accomplished in our work using high-density arrays of epitaxial BiFeO3 (BFO) ferroelectric nanodots with a lateral size as small as ~60 nm. We demonstrate various types of spontaneous topological domain structures, including center-convergent domains, center-divergent domains, and double-center domains, which are stable over sufficiently long time but can be manipulated and reversibly switched by electric field. The formation mechanisms of these topological domain states, assisted by the accumulation of compensating charges on the surface, have also been revealed. These results demonstrated that these reversibly switchable topological domain arrays are promising for applications in high-density nanoferroelectric devices such as nonvolatile memories.

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