Recent advances in electromechanical imaging on the nanometer scale: Polarization dynamics in ferroelectrics, biopolymers, and liquid imaging

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, Part 1: Regular Papers and Short Notes and Review Papers, Volume 46, Number 9 A, p.5674-5685 (2007)


Coupling between electrical and mechanical phenomena is ubiquitous in nature, with examples ranging from piezoelectricity in polar perovskites and chemical bonds to complex pathways of electromechanical transformations underpinning the functionality of electromotor proteins, cells, and tissues. Piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) had originally emerged as a technique to study electromechanical phenomena in ferroelectric perovskites on the nanoscale. In recent years, the applicability of PFM for studying a broad range of non-ferroelectric polar materials has been demonstrated, necessitating further development of the technique, including theory of the image formation mechanism as well as probe and controller development. Here, we review the basic principles of PFM and summarize some of the recent advances, including switching spectroscopy, mapping of polarization dynamics in ferroelectric and multiferroic nanostructures, imaging of biopolymers in calcified and connective tissues and PFM in liquid environments. © 2007 The Japan Society of Applied Physics.


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