Bundles of 90° stripe domains have been observed to form into distinct groups, or bands, in mesoscale BaTiO3 single crystal dots. Vector piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) shows that each band region, when considered as a single entity, possesses a resolved polarization that lies approximately along the pseudocubic direction; antiparallel alignment of this resultant polarization in adjacent bands means that these regions can be considered as 180° “superdomains.” For dots with sidewall dimensions below ~2 microns, Landau–Kittel like scaling in the width of these superdomains was observed, strongly suggesting that they form in response to lateral depolarizing fields. In larger dot structures, scaling laws break down. We have rationalized these observations by considering changes in the driving force for the adoption of equilibrium superdomain periodicities implied by Landau–Kittel-free energy models; we conclude that the formation of ordered bands of superdomains is a uniquely meso/nanoscale phenomenon. We also note that the superdomain bands found by PFM imaging in air contrast with the quadrant arrangements seen previously by Schilling et al. (Nano Lett., 9, 3359 (2009)) through transmission electron microscopy imaging in vacuum. The importance of the exact nature of the boundary conditions in determining the domain patterns that spontaneously form in nanostructures is therefore clearly implied.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)