Ferroelectric switching in ferroelastic materials with rough surfaces

GM Lu and SZ Li and XD Ding and J Sun and EKH Salje, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 9, 15834 (2019).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-52240-3

Electric switching of non-polar bulk crystals is shown to occur when domain walls are polar in ferroelastic materials and when rough surfaces with steps on an atomic scale promote domain switching. All domains emerging from surface nuclei possess polar domain walls. The progression of domains is then driven by the interaction of the electric field with the polarity of domain boundaries. In contrast, smooth surfaces with higher activation barriers prohibit effective domain nucleation. We demonstrate the existence of an electrically driven ferroelectric hysteresis loop in a non-ferroelectric, ferroelastic bulk material.

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