Electric-field-controlled directional growth of ferroelectric domains in multiferroic BiFeO3 films

Physics – Condensed Matter – Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics

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16 pages, 3 figures

Scientific paper

We describe the directional growth of ferroelectric domains in a multiferroic BiFeO3 thin film, which was grown epitaxially on a vicinal (001) SrTiO3 substrate. A detailed structural analysis of the film shows that a strain gradient, which can create a symmetry breaking in a ferroelectric double well potential, causes ferroelectric domains to grow with preferred directionality under the influence of an electric field. Our results suggest the possibility of controlling the direction of domain growth with an electric field by imposing constraints on ferroelectric films, such as a strain gradient.

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