Polarization switching in ferroelectric capacitors is typically realized by application of an electrical bias to the capacitor electrodes and occurs via a complex process of domain structure reorganization. As the domain evolution in real devices is governed by the distribution of the nucleation centers, obtaining a domain structure of a desired configuration by electrical pulsing is challenging, if not impossible. Recent discovery of polarization reversal via the flexoelectric effect has opened a possibility for deterministic control of polarization in ferroelectric capacitors. In this paper, we demonstrate mechanical writing of arbitrary-shaped nanoscale domains in thin-film ferroelectric capacitors with graphene electrodes facilitated by a strain gradient induced by a tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM). A phase-field modeling prediction of a strong effect of graphene thickness on the threshold load required to initiate mechanical switching has been confirmed experimentally. Deliberate voltage-free domain writing represents a viable approach for development of functional devices based on domain topology and electronic properties of the domains and domain walls.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering