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J. Korean Ceram. Soc. > Volume 61(1); 2024 > Article
Journal of the Korean Ceramic Society 2024;61(1): 55-62.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s43207-023-00333-1
Flexoelectric effect via piezoresponse force microscopy of domain switching in epitaxial PbTiO3 thin films
Yoonho Ahn1, Jong Yeog Son2
1School of Liberal Arts, Korea University of Technology and Education, Cheonan, 31253, Republic of Korea
2Department of Applied Physics, Institute of Natural Sciences, and Integrated Education Program for Frontier Materials (BK21 Four), Kyung Hee University, Yongin, 17104, Republic of Korea
Correspondence  Yoonho Ahn ,Email: yhahn@koreatech.ac.kr
Jong Yeog Son ,Email: jyson@khu.ac.kr
Received: June 7, 2023; Revised: August 31, 2023   Accepted: September 17, 2023.  Published online: October 17, 2023.
The flexoelectric effect can be exploited to control the polarization and domain structure in ferroelectric materials, potentially benefiting applications, such as nanoscale electromechanical systems, memory devices, and sensors. We report ferroelectric domain switching characteristics of PbTiO3 (PTO) thin films induced by the flexoelectric effect. Epitaxially (001)-oriented PbTiO3 (PTO) thin films were deposited on single-crystal Nb-doped SrTiO3 substrates by pulsed laser deposition. Through the use of a piezoelectric force microscope and two surface electrodes, polarization domains were created vertically and horizontally within the PTO film. When subjected to a vertical external force, the domains with vertical orientation exhibited predictable switching behavior. Conversely, by imposing a vertical force during the scanning of domains oriented horizontally, we observed the formation of new domains with vertical orientation. However, in conditions where a vertical force was applied counter to the alignment of the horizontal domains, the anticipated switching of the vertical domains did not manifest. This study demonstrates that the flexoelectric effect can be harnessed to manipulate the switching of ferroelectric domains in PTO thin films using piezoresponse force microscopy.
Key words: PbTiO3 thin film · Flexoelectric effect · Piezoresponse force microscopy · Polarization · Domain switching
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