Research ArticleENGINEERING

Tunable electroresistance and electro-optic effects of transparent molecular ferroelectrics

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Science Advances  30 Aug 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 8, e1701008
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701008

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Recent progress in molecular ferroelectrics (MOFEs) has been overshadowed by the lack of high-quality thin films for device integration. We report a water-based air-processable technique to prepare large-area MOFE thin films, controlled by supersaturation growth at the liquid-air interface under a temperature gradient and external water partial pressure. We used this technique to fabricate ImClO4 thin films and found a large, tunable room temperature electroresistance: a 20-fold resistance variation upon polarization switching. The as-grown films are transparent and consist of a bamboo-like structure of (2,Embedded Image,0) and (1,0,Embedded Image) structural variants of R3m symmetry with a reversible polarization of 6.7 μC/cm2. The resulting ferroelectric domain structure leads to a reversible electromechanical response of d33 = 38.8 pm/V. Polarization switching results in a change of the refractive index, n, of single domains, Embedded Image. The remarkable combination of these characteristics renders MOFEs a prime candidate material for new nanoelectronic devices. The information that we present in this work will open a new area of MOFE thin-film technologies.

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