Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Journal of Applied Physics, Volume 110, Number 5 (2011)
Keywords:Bottom electrodes, Conductive films, Domain walls, Electric fields, Ferroelastic domains, Ferroelectric domains, Ferroelectric films, Ferroelectric materials, ferroelectricity, First-order, in-situ, In-Situ Study, Local electric field, Mesoscopics, Multiferroic materials, Multiferroics, nucleation, Nucleation and growth, Nucleation sites, Phase-field modeling, polarization switching, Scanning, Scanning probes, Scanning transmission electron microscopes, scanning transmission electron microscopy, Spatially resolved, transmission electron microscopy
Ferroelectric domain nucleation and growth in multiferroic BiFeO 3 films is observed directly by applying a local electric field with a conductive tip inside a scanning transmission electron microscope. The nucleation and growth of a ferroelastic domain and its interaction with pre-existing 71° domain walls are observed and compared with the results of phase-field modeling. In particular, a preferential nucleation site and direction-dependent pinning of domain walls are observed due to slow kinetics of metastable switching in the sample without a bottom electrode. These in situ spatially resolved observations of a first-order bias-induced phase transition reveal the mesoscopic mechanisms underpinning functionality of a wide range of multiferroic materials. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.
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