Atomic imaging of mechanically induced topological transition of ferroelectric vortices

Pan Chen, Xiangli Zhong, Jacob A. Zorn, Mingqiang Li, Yuanwei Sun, Adeel Y. Abid, Chuanlai Ren, Yuehui Li, Xiaomei Li, Xiumei Ma, Jinbin Wang, Kaihui Liu, Zhi Xu, Congbing Tan, Longqing Chen, Peng Gao, Xuedong Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Ferroelectric vortices formed through complex lattice–charge interactions have great potential in applications for future nanoelectronics such as memories. For practical applications, it is crucial to manipulate these topological states under external stimuli. Here, we apply mechanical loads to locally manipulate the vortices in a PbTiO3/SrTiO3 superlattice via atomically resolved in-situ scanning transmission electron microscopy. The vortices undergo a transition to the a-domain with in-plane polarization under external compressive stress and spontaneously recover after removal of the stress. We reveal the detailed transition process at the atomic scale and reproduce this numerically using phase-field simulations. These findings provide new pathways to control the exotic topological ferroelectric structures for future nanoelectronics and also valuable insights into understanding of lattice-charge interactions at nanoscale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1840
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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