Selective control of multiple ferroelectric switching pathways using a trailing flexoelectric field

Sung Min Park, Bo Wang, Saikat Das, Seung Chul Chae, Jin Seok Chung, Jong Gul Yoon, Long Qing Chen, Sang Mo Yang, Tae Won Noh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Flexoelectricity is an electromechanical coupling between electrical polarization and a strain gradient 1 that enables mechanical manipulation of polarization without applying an electrical bias 2,3 . Recently, flexoelectricity was directly demonstrated by mechanically switching the out-of-plane polarization of a uniaxial system with a scanning probe microscope tip 3,4 . However, the successful application of flexoelectricity in low-symmetry multiaxial ferroelectrics and therefore active manipulation of multiple domains via flexoelectricity have not yet been achieved. Here, we demonstrate that the symmetry-breaking flexoelectricity offers a powerful route for the selective control of multiple domain switching pathways in multiaxial ferroelectric materials. Specifically, we use a trailing flexoelectric field that is created by the motion of a mechanically loaded scanning probe microscope tip. By controlling the SPM scan direction, we can deterministically select either stable 71° ferroelastic switching or 180° ferroelectric switching in a multiferroic magnetoelectric BiFeO3 thin film. Phase-field simulations reveal that the amplified in-plane trailing flexoelectric field is essential for this domain engineering. Moreover, we show that mechanically switched domains have a good retention property. This work opens a new avenue for the deterministic selection of nanoscale ferroelectric domains in low-symmetry materials for non-volatile magnetoelectric devices and multilevel data storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-370
Number of pages5
JournalNature nanotechnology
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Park, S. M., Wang, B., Das, S., Chae, S. C., Chung, J. S., Yoon, J. G., Chen, L. Q., Yang, S. M., & Noh, T. W. (2018). Selective control of multiple ferroelectric switching pathways using a trailing flexoelectric field. Nature nanotechnology, 13(5), 366-370. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-018-0083-5