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      Ferroelastic switching in a layered-perovskite thin film

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          A controllable ferroelastic switching in ferroelectric/multiferroic oxides is highly desirable due to the non-volatile strain and possible coupling between lattice and other order parameter in heterostructures. However, a substrate clamping usually inhibits their elastic deformation in thin films without micro/nano-patterned structure so that the integration of the non-volatile strain with thin film devices is challenging. Here, we report that reversible in-plane elastic switching with a non-volatile strain of approximately 0.4% can be achieved in layered-perovskite Bi 2WO 6 thin films, where the ferroelectric polarization rotates by 90° within four in-plane preferred orientations. Phase-field simulation indicates that the energy barrier of ferroelastic switching in orthorhombic Bi 2WO 6 film is ten times lower than the one in PbTiO 3 films, revealing the origin of the switching with negligible substrate constraint. The reversible control of the in-plane strain in this layered-perovskite thin film demonstrates a new pathway to integrate mechanical deformation with nanoscale electronic and/or magnetoelectronic applications.


          Ferroelastic switching in thin films is typically restricted by constraints from the substrate or occurs around twin-like domains. Here, the authors show reversible and non-volatile ferroelastic switching avoiding substrate constraints in layered-perovskite Bi_2WO_6 epitaxial films.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Multiferroic and magnetoelectric materials.

          A ferroelectric crystal exhibits a stable and switchable electrical polarization that is manifested in the form of cooperative atomic displacements. A ferromagnetic crystal exhibits a stable and switchable magnetization that arises through the quantum mechanical phenomenon of exchange. There are very few 'multiferroic' materials that exhibit both of these properties, but the 'magnetoelectric' coupling of magnetic and electrical properties is a more general and widespread phenomenon. Although work in this area can be traced back to pioneering research in the 1950s and 1960s, there has been a recent resurgence of interest driven by long-term technological aspirations.
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            Multiferroic BaTiO3-CoFe2O4 Nanostructures.

            We report on the coupling between ferroelectric and magnetic order parameters in a nanostructured BaTiO3-CoFe2O4 ferroelectromagnet. This facilitates the interconversion of energies stored in electric and magnetic fields and plays an important role in many devices, including transducers, field sensors, etc. Such nanostructures were deposited on single-crystal SrTiO3 (001) substrates by pulsed laser deposition from a single Ba-Ti-Co-Fe-oxide target. The films are epitaxial in-plane as well as out-of-plane with self-assembled hexagonal arrays of CoFe2O4 nanopillars embedded in a BaTiO3 matrix. The CoFe2O4 nanopillars have uniform size and average spacing of 20 to 30 nanometers. Temperature-dependent magnetic measurements illustrate the coupling between the two order parameters, which is manifested as a change in magnetization at the ferroelectric Curie temperature. Thermodynamic analyses show that the magnetoelectric coupling in such a nanostructure can be understood on the basis of the strong elastic interactions between the two phases.
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              Applications of modern ferroelectrics.

              Long viewed as a topic in classical physics, ferroelectricity can be described by a quantum mechanical ab initio theory. Thin-film nanoscale device structures integrated onto Si chips have made inroads into the semiconductor industry. Recent prototype applications include ultrafast switching, cheap room-temperature magnetic-field detectors, piezoelectric nanotubes for microfluidic systems, electrocaloric coolers for computers, phased-array radar, and three-dimensional trenched capacitors for dynamic random access memories. Terabit-per-square-inch ferroelectric arrays of lead zirconate titanate have been reported on Pt nanowire interconnects and nanorings with 5-nanometer diameters. Finally, electron emission from ferroelectrics yields cheap, high-power microwave devices and miniature x-ray and neutron sources.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Department of Physics, Beijing Normal University , 100875 Beijing, China
                [2 ]EMAT (Electron Microscopy for Materials Science), University of Antwerp , Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerpen, Belgium
                [3 ]Institute of Microstructures and Properties of Advanced Materials, Beijing University of Technology , 100124 Beijing, China
                [4 ]State Key Laboratory of New Ceramics and Fine Processing, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University , 100084 Beijing, China
                [5 ]Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology, Institute of Microelectronics, Tsinghua University , 100084 Beijing, China
                [6 ]National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and CAS Key Laboratory of Materials for Energy Conversion, University of Science and Technology of China , 230026 Hefei, China
                [7 ]Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California , 94720 Berkeley, California, USA
                [8 ]Beijing National Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science , 100190 Beijing, China
                [9 ]Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park , Pennsylvania, 16802 Pennsylvania, USA
                Author notes

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group
                03 February 2016
                : 7
                26838483 4743001 ncomms10636 10.1038/ncomms10636
                Copyright © 2016, Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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