Short-range ordered polar nanoregions are key to the giant electromechanical properties exhibited by relaxor ferroelectrics. Stabilization of the long-range ferroelectric order in relaxor systems has typically been achieved by applying external fields. In this work, spontaneous (zero-field) ferroelectric order is demonstrated in the composites constituting of nonergodic relaxor matrix phase 0.91Na1/2Bi1/2TiO3-0.09BaTiO3 with ZnO inclusions. Direct structural evidence is provided for the long-range ferroelectric order in the composites using in situ electric-field-dependent synchrotron investigations and Na23 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Thermodynamic analysis incorporating microelasticity reveals the role of spatial residual stress in stabilizing the ferroelectric order. The work provides a direct correlation between the stabilized ferroelectric order and enhanced thermal stability, which can be utilized to guide the design of spontaneous long-range order in other relaxor systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics