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A strain-driven morphotropic phase boundary in BiFeO3.

  • Author(s): Zeches, RJ
  • Rossell, MD
  • Zhang, JX
  • Hatt, AJ
  • He, Q
  • Yang, C-H
  • Kumar, A
  • Wang, CH
  • Melville, A
  • Adamo, C
  • Sheng, G
  • Chu, Y-H
  • Ihlefeld, JF
  • Erni, R
  • Ederer, C
  • Gopalan, V
  • Chen, LQ
  • Schlom, DG
  • Spaldin, NA
  • Martin, LW
  • Ramesh, R
  • et al.

Piezoelectric materials, which convert mechanical to electrical energy and vice versa, are typically characterized by the intimate coexistence of two phases across a morphotropic phase boundary. Electrically switching one to the other yields large electromechanical coupling coefficients. Driven by global environmental concerns, there is currently a strong push to discover practical lead-free piezoelectrics for device engineering. Using a combination of epitaxial growth techniques in conjunction with theoretical approaches, we show the formation of a morphotropic phase boundary through epitaxial constraint in lead-free piezoelectric bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) films. Electric field-dependent studies show that a tetragonal-like phase can be reversibly converted into a rhombohedral-like phase, accompanied by measurable displacements of the surface, making this new lead-free system of interest for probe-based data storage and actuator applications.

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