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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Charged Ferroelectric Domain Walls for Deterministic ac Signal Control at the Nanoscale.


The direct current (dc) conductivity and emergent functionalities at ferroelectric domain walls are closely linked to the local polarization charges. Depending on the charge state, the walls can exhibit unusual dc conduction ranging from insulating to metallic-like, which is leveraged in domain-wall-based memory, multilevel data storage, and synaptic devices. In contrast to the functional dc behaviors at charged walls, their response to alternating currents (ac) remains to be resolved. Here, we reveal ac characteristics at positively and negatively charged walls in ErMnO3, distinctly different from the response of the surrounding domains. By combining voltage-dependent spectroscopic measurements on macroscopic and local scales, we demonstrate a pronounced nonlinear response at the electrode-wall junction, which correlates with the domain-wall charge state. The dependence on the ac drive voltage enables reversible switching between uni- and bipolar output signals, providing conceptually new opportunities for the application of charged walls as functional nanoelements in ac circuitry.

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