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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mechanical-force-induced non-local collective ferroelastic switching in epitaxial lead-titanate thin films.

  • Author(s): Lu, Xiaoyan;
  • Chen, Zuhuang;
  • Cao, Ye;
  • Tang, Yunlong;
  • Xu, Ruijuan;
  • Saremi, Sahar;
  • Zhang, Zhan;
  • You, Lu;
  • Dong, Yongqi;
  • Das, Sujit;
  • Zhang, Hangbo;
  • Zheng, Limei;
  • Wu, Huaping;
  • Lv, Weiming;
  • Xie, Guoqiang;
  • Liu, Xingjun;
  • Li, Jiangyu;
  • Chen, Lang;
  • Chen, Long-Qing;
  • Cao, Wenwu;
  • Martin, Lane W
  • et al.

Ferroelastic switching in ferroelectric/multiferroic oxides plays a crucial role in determining their dielectric, piezoelectric, and magnetoelectric properties. In thin films of these materials, however, substrate clamping is generally thought to limit the electric-field- or mechanical-force-driven responses to the local scale. Here, we report mechanical-force-induced large-area, non-local, collective ferroelastic domain switching in PbTiO3 epitaxial thin films by tuning the misfit-strain to be near a phase boundary wherein c/a and a1/a2 nanodomains coexist. Phenomenological models suggest that the collective, c-a-c-a ferroelastic switching arises from the small potential barrier between the degenerate domain structures, and the large anisotropy of a and c domains, which collectively generates much larger response and large-area domain propagation. Large-area, non-local response under small stimuli, unlike traditional local response to external field, provides an opportunity of unique response to local stimuli, which has potential for use in high-sensitivity pressure sensors and switches.

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