Coupled polarization and nanodomain evolution underpins large electromechanical responses in relaxors. Kim, J., Kumar, A., Qi, Y., Takenaka, H., Ryan, P. J, Meyers, D., Kim, J., Fernandez, A., Tian, Z., Rappe, A. M, LeBeau, J. M, & Martin, L. W Nat. Phys., 18(12):1502–1509, Nature Publishing Group, October, 2022.
doi  abstract   bibtex   
Understanding the evolution and role of nanoscale polar structures during polarization rotation in relaxor ferroelectrics is a long-standing challenge in materials science and condensed-matter physics. These nanoscale polar structures are characterized by polar nanodomains, which are believed to play a key role in enabling the large susceptibilities of relaxors. Using epitaxial strain, we stabilize the intermediate step during polarization rotation in epitaxial films of a prototypical relaxor and study the co-evolution of polarization and polar nanodomains. Our multimodal approach allows for a detailed examination of correlations between polarization and polar nanodomains; illuminates the effect of local chemistry, strain and electric field on their co-evolution; and reveals the underappreciated role of strain in enabling the large electromechanical coupling in relaxors. As the strain increases, the competition between chemistry-driven disorder and strain-driven order of the polar units intensifies, which is manifested in the coexistence of inclined and elongated polar nanodomains in the intermediate step of polarization rotation. Our findings establish that structural transitions between polar nanodomain configurations underpins the polarization rotation and large electromechanical coupling of relaxors. Properties of relaxor ferroelectrics are governed by polar nanodomains. Polarization rotation facilitated by these domains investigated by means of epitaxial strain reveals a competition between chemistry-driven disorder and strain-driven order.
@ARTICLE{Kim2022-hl,
  title     = "Coupled polarization and nanodomain evolution underpins large
               electromechanical responses in relaxors",
  author    = "Kim, Jieun and Kumar, Abinash and Qi, Yubo and Takenaka,
               Hiroyuki and Ryan, Philip J and Meyers, Derek and Kim, Jong-Woo
               and Fernandez, Abel and Tian, Zishen and Rappe, Andrew M and
               LeBeau, James M and Martin, Lane W",
  abstract  = "Understanding the evolution and role of nanoscale polar
               structures during polarization rotation in relaxor
               ferroelectrics is a long-standing challenge in materials science
               and condensed-matter physics. These nanoscale polar structures
               are characterized by polar nanodomains, which are believed to
               play a key role in enabling the large susceptibilities of
               relaxors. Using epitaxial strain, we stabilize the intermediate
               step during polarization rotation in epitaxial films of a
               prototypical relaxor and study the co-evolution of polarization
               and polar nanodomains. Our multimodal approach allows for a
               detailed examination of correlations between polarization and
               polar nanodomains; illuminates the effect of local chemistry,
               strain and electric field on their co-evolution; and reveals the
               underappreciated role of strain in enabling the large
               electromechanical coupling in relaxors. As the strain increases,
               the competition between chemistry-driven disorder and
               strain-driven order of the polar units intensifies, which is
               manifested in the coexistence of inclined and elongated polar
               nanodomains in the intermediate step of polarization rotation.
               Our findings establish that structural transitions between polar
               nanodomain configurations underpins the polarization rotation
               and large electromechanical coupling of relaxors. Properties of
               relaxor ferroelectrics are governed by polar nanodomains.
               Polarization rotation facilitated by these domains investigated
               by means of epitaxial strain reveals a competition between
               chemistry-driven disorder and strain-driven order.",
  journal   = "Nat. Phys.",
  publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
  volume    =  18,
  number    =  12,
  pages     = "1502--1509",
  month     =  oct,
  year      =  2022,
  keywords  = "LeBeau Group;CHARM;FP",
  language  = "en",
  issn      = "1745-2473",
  doi       = "10.1038/s41567-022-01773-y"
}

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