Asymmetric nanoscale switching in ferroelectric thin films by scanning force microscopy

Gruverman, A.; Kholkin, A.; Kingon, A.; Tokumoto, H.
April 2001
Applied Physics Letters;4/30/2001, Vol. 78 Issue 18, p2751
Academic Journal
Scanning force microscopy (SFM) has been used to perform nanoscale studies of the switching behavior of Pb(Zr, Ti)O[sub 3] thin films via the direct observation of their domain structures. The study revealed a significant asymmetry of a switching pattern which is a function of the voltage polarity and original domain structure of individual grains. The phenomenon of asymmetric switching is attributed (1) to the presence of an internal built-in electric field at the bottom interface and (2) to the mechanical stress exerted by the SFM tip. The former effect results in incomplete 180° switching, while the latter effect leads to a 90° rotation of the polarization vector. The resulting shear stress deformation of the grain underneath the tip combined with the applied field effect propels polarization reversal in the adjacent grains. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.


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