Giant tuning of ferroelectricity in single crystals by thickness engineering

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  14 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 42, eabc7156
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc7156


Thickness effect and mechanical tuning behavior such as strain engineering in thin-film ferroelectrics have been extensively studied and widely used to tailor the ferroelectric properties. However, this is never the case in freestanding single crystals, and conclusions from thin films cannot be duplicated because of the differences in the nature and boundary conditions of the thin-film and freestanding single-crystal ferroelectrics. Here, using in situ biasing transmission electron microscopy, we studied the thickness-dependent domain switching behavior and predicted the trend of ferroelectricity in nanoscale materials induced by surface strain. We discovered that sample thickness plays a critical role in tailoring the domain switching behavior and ferroelectric properties of single-crystal ferroelectrics, arising from the huge surface strain and the resulting surface reconstruction. Our results provide important insights in tuning polarization/domain of single-crystal ferroelectric via sample thickness engineering.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances