Super-elastic ferroelectric single-crystal membrane with continuous electric dipole rotation

GH Dong and SZ Li and MT Yao and ZY Zhou and YQ Zhang and X Han and ZL Luo and JX Yao and B Peng and ZQ Hu and HB Huang and TT Jia and JY Li and W Ren and ZG Ye and XD Ding and J Sun and CW Nan and LQ Chen and J Li and M Liu, SCIENCE, 366, 475-+ (2019).

DOI: 10.1126/science.aay7221

Ferroelectrics are usually inflexible oxides that undergo brittle deformation. We synthesized freestanding single-crystalline ferroelectric barium titanate (BaTiO3) membranes with a damage-free lifting-off process. Our BaTiO3 membranes can undergo a similar to 180 degrees folding during an in situ bending test, demonstrating a super- elasticity and ultraflexibility. We found that the origin of the super- elasticity was from the dynamic evolution of ferroelectric nanodomains. High stresses modulate the energy landscape markedly and allow the dipoles to rotate continuously between the a and c nanodomains. A continuous transition zone is formed to accommodate the variant strain and avoid high mismatch stress that usually causes fracture. The phenomenon should be possible in other ferroelectrics systems through domain engineering. The ultraflexible epitaxial ferroelectric membranes could enable many applications such as flexible sensors, memories, and electronic skins.

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