The role of lattice dynamics in ferroelectric switching

Qiwu Shi, Eric Parsonnet, Xiaoxing Cheng, Natalya Fedorova, Ren Ci Peng, Abel Fernandez, Alexander Qualls, Xiaoxi Huang, Xue Chang, Hongrui Zhang, David Pesquera, Sujit Das, Dmitri Nikonov, Ian Young, Long Qing Chen, Lane W. Martin, Yen Lin Huang, Jorge Íñiguez, Ramamoorthy Ramesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Reducing the switching energy of ferroelectric thin films remains an important goal in the pursuit of ultralow-power ferroelectric memory and logic devices. Here, we elucidate the fundamental role of lattice dynamics in ferroelectric switching by studying both freestanding bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) membranes and films clamped to a substrate. We observe a distinct evolution of the ferroelectric domain pattern, from striped, 71° ferroelastic domains (spacing of ~100 nm) in clamped BiFeO3 films, to large (10’s of micrometers) 180° domains in freestanding films. By removing the constraints imposed by mechanical clamping from the substrate, we can realize a ~40% reduction of the switching voltage and a consequent ~60% improvement in the switching speed. Our findings highlight the importance of a dynamic clamping process occurring during switching, which impacts strain, ferroelectric, and ferrodistortive order parameters and plays a critical role in setting the energetics and dynamics of ferroelectric switching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1110
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of lattice dynamics in ferroelectric switching'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this