Electromechanical-mnemonic effects in BiFeO3 for electric field history-dependent crystallographic phase patterning
Strained bismuth ferrite thin films unite a wealth of functional properties including ferroelectricity, ferromagnetism, electrooptic coupling and interface-mediated conductivity. The coexistence of rhombohedral (R) and tetragonal (T) phases in these films further contributes to their versatility, as structural transitions can modify functional behavior and be leveraged to engineer properties such as electrochromism, magnetic characteristics, electromechanical response and charge transport. However, potential device applications necessitate precise control of the location and size of R and T phases and associated microstructures. Here, distinct RT phase patterns of different spatial expanse are obtained by appropriately pre-poling the film by applying an electric field with an atomic force microscope tip during scanning, as well as through local application of a certain sequence of voltage pulses. Moreover, the impact of field history on ferroelectric characteristics is investigated, providing further opportunities to tailor functional behavior.
The authors would like to thank S. Jesse for providing the band excitation acquisition code used in this work. This publication has emanated from research conducted with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland under the US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme Grant Number SFI/14/US/I3113. A.N. and A.K. acknowledge support by the Department of Education and Learning, Northern Ireland through the US-Ireland R&D partnership grant no. USI-082 and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through contract EP/N018389. NBG gratefully acknowledges support from US National Science Foundation through grant CMMI-1537262.
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