There are several factors which make the investigation and understanding of nanoscale ferroelectrics particularly timely and important. Firstly, there is a market pressure, primarily from the electronics industry, to integrate ferroelectrics into devices with progressive decreases in size and increases in morphological complexity. This is perhaps best illustrated through the roadmaps for product development in FeRAM (Ferroelectric Randorn Access Memory) where the need for increases in bit density will require a move from 2D planar capacitor structures to 3D trenched capacitors in the next few years. Secondly, there is opportunity for novel exploration, as it is only relatively recently that developments in thin film growth of complex oxides, self-assembly techniques and high-resolution 'top-down' patterning have converged to allow the fabrication of isolated and well-defined ferroelectric nanoshapes, the properties of which are not known. Thirdly, there is an expectation that the behaviour of small scale ferroelectrics will be different from bulk, as this group of functional materials is highly sensitive to boundary/surface conditions, which are expected to dominate the overall response when sizes are reduced into the nanoscale regime. This feature article attempts to introduce some of the current areas of discovery and debate surrounding studies on ferroelectrics at the nanoscale. The focus is directed primarily at the search for novel size-related properties and behaviour which are not necessarily observed in bulk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Materials Chemistry
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films