Three-domain architecture of stress-free epitaxial ferroelectric films

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Applied Physics, Volume 89, Number 1, p.553-556 (2001)


Epitaxial ferroelectric films undergoing a cubic-tetragonal phase transformation relax internal stresses due to the structural phase transformation and the difference in the thermal expansion coefficients of the film and the substrate by forming polydomain structures. The most commonly observed polydomain structure is the c/a/c/a polytwin which only partially relieves the internal stresses. Relatively thicker films may completely reduce internal stresses if all three variants of the ferroelectric phase are brought together such that the film has the same in-plane size as the substrate. In this article, we provide experimental evidence on the formation of the three-domain structure based on transmission electron microscopy in 450 nm thick (001) PbZr0.2Ti0.8O3 films on (001) SrTiO3 grown by pulsed laser deposition. X-ray diffraction studies show that the film is fully relaxed. Experimental data is analyzed in terms of a domain stability map. It is shown that the observed structure in epitaxial ferroelectric films is due to the interplay between relaxation by misfit dislocations at the deposition temperature and relaxation by polydomain formation below the phase transformation temperature. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.


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