Manipulating Ferroelectric Domains in Nanostructures Under Electron Beams

R. Ahluwalia, N. Ng, A. Schilling, R.G.P McQuaid, D. M. Evans, J. M. Gregg, D. J. Srolovitz, J. F. Scott

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Freestanding BaTiO3 nanodots exhibit domain structures characterized by distinct quadrants of ferroelastic 90 domains in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observations. These differ significantly from flux-closure domain patterns in the same systems imaged by piezoresponse force microscopy. Based upon a series of phase field simulations of BaTiO3 nanodots, we suggest that the TEM patterns result from a radial electric field arising from electron beam charging of the nanodot. For sufficiently large charging, this converts flux-closure domain patterns to quadrant patterns with radial net polarizations. Not only does this explain the puzzling patterns that have been observed in TEM studies of ferroelectric nanodots, but also suggests how to manipulate ferroelectric domain patterns via electron beams.
Original languageEnglish
Article number165702
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2013


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