Domain Wall Propagation in Meso and Nanoscale Ferroelectrics

R.G.P. McQuaid, M. McMillen, L.-W. Chang, A. Gruverman, Marty Gregg

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13 Citations (Scopus)


As part of an ongoing programme to evaluate the extent to which external morphology alters domain wall mobility in ferroelectrics, the electrical switching characteristics of single-crystal BaTiO3 nanorods and thin film plates have been measured and compared. It was found that ferroelectric nanorods were more readily switched than thin plates; increasing the shape constraint therefore appears to enhance switchability. This observation is broadly consistent with previous work, in which local notches patterned along the length of nanorods enhanced switching (McMillen et al 2010 Appl. Phys. Lett. 96 042904), while antinotches had the opposite effect (McQuaid et al 2010 Nano Lett. 10 3566). In this prior work, local enhancement and denudation of the electric field was expected at the notch and antinotch sites, respectively, and this was thought to be the reason for the differences in switching behaviour observed. However, for the simple nanorods and plates investigated here, no differences in the electric field distributions are expected. To rationalise the functional measurements, domain development during switching was imaged directly by piezoresponse force microscopy. A two-stage process was identified, in which narrow needle-like reverse domains initially form across the entire interelectrode gap and then subsequently coarsen through domain wall propagation perpendicular to the applied electric field. To be consistent with the electrical switching data, we suggest that the initial formation of needle domains occurs more readily in the nanorods than in the plates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number024204
Pages (from-to)024204
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Physics C: Condensed Matter
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Science(all)


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