Tailoring and enhancing the functional properties of materials at reduced dimension is critical for continuous advancement of modern electronic devices. Here, the discovery of local surface induced giant spontaneous polarization in ultrathin BiFeO3 ferroelectric films is reported. Using aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy, it is found that the spontaneous polarization in a 2 nm-thick ultrathin BiFeO3 film is abnormally increased up to ≈90–100 µC cm−2 in the out-of-plane direction and a peculiar rumpled nanodomain structure with very large variation in c/a ratios, which is analogous to morphotropic phase boundaries (MPBs), is formed. By a combination of density functional theory and phase-field calculations, it is shown that it is the unique single atomic Bi2O3 − x layer at the surface that leads to the enhanced polarization and appearance of the MPB-like nanodomain structure. This finding clearly demonstrates a novel route to the enhanced functional properties in the material system with reduced dimension via engineering the surface boundary conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering