The thermodynamic parameters of domain relaxation process in the absence of external electric fields are related to the intrinsic electrostatic and stress/strain conditions inside the materials, such as the states at surface, states at interface with the electrode, and the atomic defects in the bulk. In order to perform systematical studies of these intrinsic effects, we investigated domain relaxation in a monodomain environment, which was obtained in strained epitaxial BiFeO 3 (BFO)(111) films. Without as-grown domain walls and grain boundaries, the epitaxial BFO(111) film provided an ideal system for the dynamic observation of 180-degree domain wall motion. Nano-domains were initially created by writing voltage pulses under the tip of a scanning force microscope and then relaxed through time. The downward polarized domains exhibited much better retention behaviors than the upward domains. A two-step backswitching process was observed, and the behaviors varied with the initial domain sizes. Surface potential measurement showed the dissipation of surface screen charges with time, which was strongly coupled with the 1st step relaxation. The asymmetry behaviors for upward and downward backswitchings, and the two-stage relaxation processes can be explained by the mobile vacancies and the redistribution of surface charges. This study provides the basic understanding of the role of surface charges during the ferroelectric domain relaxation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)