Quantitative ferroelectric characterization of single submicron grains in Bi-layered perovskite thin films
- Cite this article as:
- Harnagea, C., Pignolet, A., Alexe, M. et al. Appl Phys A (2000) 70: 261. doi:10.1007/s003390050045
The local polarization state and the electromechanical properties of ferroelectric thin films can be probed via the converse piezoelectric effect using scanning force microscopy (SFM) combined with a lock-in technique. This method, denominated as piezoresponse SFM, was used to characterize at the nanoscale level ferroelectric SrBi2Ta2O9 and Bi4Ti3O12 thin films, grown by pulsed laser deposition. Two types of samples were studied: polycrystalline films, with grains having random orientations, and epitaxial films, consisting of (100)orth- or (110)orth-oriented crystallites, 100 nm to 2 μm in lateral size, which are embedded into a (001)-oriented matrix. The ferroelectric domain structure was imaged and the piezoelectric response under different external conditions was locally measured for each type of sample. Different investigation procedures are described in order to study the ferroelectric properties via the electromechanical response. A distinct ferroelectric behavior was found for single grains of SrBi2Ta2O9 as small as 200 nm in lateral size, as well as for 1.2 μm×175 nm crystallites of Bi4Ti3O12. By probing separately the crystallites and the matrix the investigations have demonstrated at the nanoscale level that SrBi2Ta2O9 has no spontaneous polarization along its crystallographic c-axis, whereas Bi4Ti3O12 exhibits a piezoelectric behavior along both the a- and c-directions. The electrostriction coefficients were estimated to be 3×10-2 m4/C2 for polycrystalline SrBi2Ta2O9 and 7.7×10-3 m4/C2 for c-orientedBi4Ti3O12.
Quantitative measurements at the nanoscale level, within the experimental errors give the same values for remanent polarization and coercive field as macroscopic ferroelectric measurements performed on the same samples.