Spatially Resolved Mapping of Polarization Switching Behavior in Nanoscale Ferroelectrics


  • Research supported in part by the Division of Materials Science and Engineering, Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC. The work has also been partly funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, through the Nanosized Ferroelectric Hybrids project no. I/80897. Multiple discussions with A. N. Morozovska and E. A. Eliseev (UAS), and A. Y. Borisevich (ORNL) are greatly appreciated.


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The spatial variability of polarization switching in ferroelectric lead zirconate-titanate nanoparticle arrays and within a single sub-100 nanometer nanoparticle is investigated by using switching spectroscopy piezoresponse force microscopy. Strong variations of switching properties within a single nanoparticle are observed and attributed to polarization pinning by geometric effects and interfacial dislocations. The spatial distributions of imprint bias and the thickness of the frozen polarization layer within the nanoparticle are reconstructed.