The extent to which notches inhibit axial switching of polarization in ferroelectric nanowires was investigated by monitoring the switching behavior of single crystal BaTiO(3) wires before and after patterning triangular notches along their lengths. Static zero-field domain patterns suggested a strong domain-notch interaction, implying that notches should act as pinning sites for domain wall propagation. Surprisingly though, notches appeared to assist, rather than inhibit, polar switching. The origin of this effect was rationalized using finite element modeling of the electric field distribution along the notched wire; it was found that the air gap associated with the notch acted to enhance the local field, both in the air, and in the adjacent region of the ferroelectric. It seems that this local field enhancement outweighs any pinning interactions.
- barium compounds; dielectric polarisation; electric domain walls; ferroelectric materials; ferroelectric switching; finite element analysis; nanowires