The origin of the unusual 90 degrees ferroelectric/ferroelastic domains, consistently observed in recent studies on mesoscale and nanoscale free-standing single crystals of BaTiO3 [Schilling , Phys. Rev. B 74, 024115 (2006); Schilling , Nano Lett. 7, 3787 (2007)], has been considered. A model has been developed which postulates that the domains form as a response to elastic stress induced by a surface layer which does not undergo the paraelectric-ferroelectric cubic-tetragonal phase transition. This model was found to accurately account for the changes in domain periodicity as a function of size that had been observed experimentally. The physical origin of the surface layer might readily be associated with patterning damage, seen in experiment; however, when all evidence of physical damage is removed from the BaTiO3 surfaces by thermal annealing, the domain configuration remains practically unchanged. This suggests a more intrinsic origin, such as the increased importance of surface tension at small dimensions. The effect of surface tension is also shown to be proportional to the difference in hardness between the surface and the interior of the ferroelectric. The present model for surface-tension induced twinning should also be relevant for finely grained or core-shell structured ceramics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics