Role of 90° domains in lead zirconate titanate thin films

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Applied Physics Letters, American Institute of Physics Inc., Volume 77, Number 2, p.292-294 (2000)


We report observations of the ferroelectric domain structure in epitaxial lead zirconate titanate (PbZr0.2Ti0.8O3) ferroelectric thin films using piezoresponse microscopy. By manipulating the film thickness, a uniform two-dimensional grid of 90° domains (a domains, i.e., c axis in the plane of the film) has been induced. Our studies show that the out of plane polarization direction in the film is preferentially oriented. 90° domains have been observed as regions of low piezoresponse, as compared to the fully c axis oriented regions. We have studied the influence of these 90° domains and the domain walls on the nucleation of polarization reversal. We observe that the nucleation occurs preferentially at 90° domain interfaces. Polarization reversal is seen to occur through the nucleation and subsequent growth of "semicircular/elliptical" reverse domains, which eventually consume the entire region as a function of reversal time. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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