Ultrafast photoinduced strain in super-tetragonal PbTiO3 ferroelectric films



The ultrafast photoinduced strain (UPS) resulting from the coupling of piezoelectric and photovoltaic effects in ferroelectric has been focused in the last decade, endowing them with extensive applications including ultrafast optical memories, sensors and actuators with strain engineering. The mechanism of screening of the depolarization field by photoinduced carriers is generally accepted for UPS in ferroelectrics, while the thermal component of the strain is usually diluted as the offset and has not been systematically confronted, leading to unnecessary confusion. Herein, both the positive and negative thermal expansion effects in composite ferroelectric epitaxial films are investigated by use of high-repetition-rate ultrafast X-ray diffraction, along with the piezoelectric and photovoltaic effects. The coupling of the positive/negative thermal effects and the piezoelectric/photovoltaic effects in ultrafast strain is evidenced and can be regulated. The opposite lattice responses due to different thermal effects of the samples with different axial ratios are observed. The maximum UPS is up to 0.24%, comparable to that of conventional ferroelectric. The interaction between the thermal and ferroelectric effects in the induced strain could promote the diversified applications with the coupling of light, heat and electricity.


近十年来, 由压电效应和光电效应进行铁电耦合的超快光致 应变一直是人们关注的焦点. 这使得超快光致应变在超快光存储 器、应变工程传感器和制动器等领域呈现出广泛的应用前景. 在 铁电材料中, 光致载流子屏蔽去极化场被普遍认为是超快光致应 变的机理, 而热应变通常被作为偏移误差而被忽视, 尚未得到系统 研究, 导致不必要的混淆. 本文利用高重复率超快X射线衍射研究 了复合外延铁电薄膜的正、负热膨胀效应, 同时考虑了压电效应 和光伏效应. 在超快应变中, 正/负热效应和压电/光伏效应的耦合 得到证实和调控. 在不同轴比的样品中, 由于热效应的不同, 晶格响 应呈现相反的状态. 其最大超快光致应变可达0.24%, 与传统铁电 的光致应变相当. 热效应和铁电效应在诱导应变中的相互作用可 以促进光、热、电耦合的多样化应用.


  1. 1

    Valasek J. Piezo-electric and allied phenomena in Rochelle salt. Phys Rev, 1921, 17: 475–481

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Wang J, Neaton JB, Zheng H, et al. Epitaxial BiFeO3 multiferroic thin film heterostructures. Science, 2003, 299: 1719–1722

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Guo R, You L, Zhou Y, et al. Non-volatile memory based on the ferroelectric photovoltaic effect. Nat Commun, 2013, 4: 1990

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Rodrıguez Contreras J, Kohlstedt H, Poppe U, et al. Resistive switching in metal-ferroelectric-metal junctions. Appl Phys Lett, 2003, 83: 4595–4597

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Daranciang D, Highland MJ, Wen H, et al. Ultrafast photovoltaic response in ferroelectric nanolayers. Phys Rev Lett, 2012, 108: 087601

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Wen H, Chen P, Cosgriff MP, et al. Electronic origin of ultrafast photoinduced strain in BiFeO3. Phys Rev Lett, 2013, 110: 037601

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Schick D, Herzog M, Wen H, et al. Localized excited charge carriers generate ultrafast inhomogeneous strain in the multiferroic BiFeO3. Phys Rev Lett, 2014, 112: 097602

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Ahn Y, Pateras A, Marks SD, et al. Nanosecond optically induced phase transformation in compressively strained BiFeO3 on LaAlO3. Phys Rev Lett, 2019, 123: 045703

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Li Y, Adamo C, Chen P, et al. Giant optical enhancement of strain gradient in ferroelectric BiFeO3 thin films and its physical origin. Sci Rep, 2015, 5: 16650

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Matzen S, Guillemot L, Maroutian T, et al. Tuning ultrafast photoinduced strain in ferroelectric-based devices. Adv Electron Mater, 2019, 5: 1800709

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Schick D, Herzog M, Bojahr A, et al. Ultrafast lattice response of photoexcited thin films studied by X-ray diffraction. Struct Dyn, 2014, 1: 064501

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Chroneos A, Bracht H. Diffusion of n-type dopants in germanium. Appl Phys Rev, 2014, 1: 011301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Zhang B, He X, Zhao J, et al. Giant photoinduced lattice distortion in oxygen vacancy ordered SrCoO2.5 thin films. Phys Rev B, 2019, 100: 144201

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Alberts HL, Lourens JAJ. Thermal-expansion and elastic constants of dilute Cr-Al alloys. Phys Rev B, 1984, 29: 5279–5285

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Chen J, Hu L, Deng J, et al. Negative thermal expansion in functional materials: Controllable thermal expansion by chemical modifications. Chem Soc Rev, 2015, 44: 3522–3567

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Zhang L, Chen J, Fan L, et al. Giant polarization in super-tetragonal thin films through interphase strain. Science, 2018, 361: 494–497

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Zhang L, Zheng D, Fan L, et al. Controllable ferromagnetism in super-tetragonal PbTiO3 through strain engineering. Nano Lett, 2020, 20: 881–886

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Sun DR, Xu GL, Zhang BB, et al. Implementation of ultrafast X-ray diffraction at the 1W2B wiggler beamline of Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility. J Synchrotron Rad, 2016, 23: 830–835

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFA0703700 and 2017YFE0119700), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21801013, 1190524, 51774034 and 51961135107), Beijing Natural Science Foundation (2182039), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (FRF-IDRY-19-007 and FRF-TP-19-055A2Z), and the Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program by CAST (2019-2021QNRC). Use of the Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility (1W2B, 1W1A and 4B9B beamlines, China) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is acknowledged.

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Linxing Zhang 张林兴 or Bingbing Zhang 张兵兵 or Jianjun Tian 田建军.

Additional information

Author contributions

Zhang L designed and engineered the samples; Zhang B and Sun D designed the experiments; Zhang L, Zhang B and Chai M performed the data analysis; Zhang L and Zhang B wrote the manuscript with support from Tian J; Xing X, Chen J, and Tian J supervised the work and revised the manuscript. All authors contributed to the general discussion.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Linxing Zhang received his PhD degree in 2017 from the University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB), and then joined the Institute for Advanced Materials and Technology in USTB. His research interest includes the design of functional thin films, structural analysis of epitaxial thin films, and ferroelectric and optoelectronic thin films. He won the China Outstanding Science and Technology Persons’ Outstanding Impact Award and Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program awarded by the China Association for Science and Technology.

Darui Sun works at the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP), Chinese Academy of Sciences. She received her PhD degree from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009. Her current research interest focuses on the time-resolved X-ray technology.

Bingbing Zhang received his PhD degree from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2016. After two years of Postdoc research at the IHEP, he has worked as a full-time employee of this institute and joined the High Energy Photon Source (HEPS) group in 2018. His current research interests focus on the development of ultrafast X-ray techniques and their application in the dynamic processes upon compression science and during the additive manufacturing. He is also responsible for the beamline design of the Structural Dynamic Beamline of HEPS.

Jianjun Tian received his PhD degree in 2007 from the USTB. During 2011–2012, he studied at the University of Washington. He was selected as new century excellent talents of the Ministry of Education in 2013, and built the Laboratory of Optoelectronic Materials and Devices in 2016 as leader (PI). He was nominated as director of the Functional Materials Institute, USTB in 2015 and vice-dean of the Institute for Multidisciplinary Innovation, USTB in 2019. Current research focuses on quantum dots and perovskites, and their applications, including solar cells, light emitting and photodetectors.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhang, L., Sun, D., Chai, M. et al. Ultrafast photoinduced strain in super-tetragonal PbTiO3 ferroelectric films. Sci. China Mater. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-020-1565-8

Download citation


  • ferroelectrics
  • epitaxial films
  • piezoelectric and photovoltaic
  • thermal effect