Ferroelectric materials have been extensively explored for applications in electronic devices because of their ferroelectric/ferroelastic domain switching behaviour under electric bias or mechanical stress. Recent findings on applying mechanical loading to manipulate reversible logical signals in non-volatile ferroelectric memory devices make ferroelectric materials more attractive to scientists and engineers. However, the dynamical microscopic structural behaviour of ferroelectric domains under stress is not well understood, which limits the applications of ferroelectric/ferroelastic switching in memory devices. Here, the kinetics of reversible and irreversible ferroelectric domain switching induced by mechanical stress in relaxor-based ferroelectrics was explored. In-situ transmission electron microscopy investigation revealed that 90° ferroelastic and 180° ferroelectric domain switching can be induced by low and high mechanical stresses. The nucleation and growth of nanoscale domains overwhelm the defect-induced pinning effect on the stable micro-domain walls. This study provides deep insights for exploring the mechanical kinetics for ferroelectric/ferroelastic domains and a clear pathway to overcome the domain pinning effect of defects in ferroelectrics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)