Misfit dislocations in nanoscale ferroelectric heterostructures

Nagarajan, V.; Jia, C. L.; Kohlstedt, H.; Waser, R.; Misirlioglu, I. B.; Alpay, S. P.; Ramesh, R.
May 2005
Applied Physics Letters;5/9/2005, Vol. 86 Issue 19, p192910
Academic Journal
We present a quantitative study of the thickness dependence of the polarization and piezoelectric properties in epitaxial (001) PbZr0.52Ti0.48O3 films grown on (001) SrRuO3-buffered (001) SrTiO3 substrates. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy reveals that even the thinnest films (∼8 nm) are fully relaxed with a dislocation density close to 1012 cm-2 and a spacing of approximately 12 nm. Quantitative piezoelectric and ferroelectric measurements show a drastic degradation in the out-of-plane piezoelectric constant (d33) and the switched polarization (ΔP) as a function of decreasing thickness. In contrast, lattice-matched ultrathin PbZr0.2Ti0.8O3 films that have a very low dislocation density show superior ferroelectric properties. Supporting theoretical calculations show that the variations in the strain field around the core of the dislocation leads to highly localized polarization gradients and hence strong depolarizing fields, which result in suppression of ferroelectricity in the vicinity of a dislocation.


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