Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 1-11

First online:

Self-assembled nanoscale ferroelectrics

  • Marin AlexeAffiliated withMax Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics
  • , Dietrich HesseAffiliated withMax Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics

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Multifunctional ferroelectric materials offer a wide range of useful properties, from switchable polarization that can be applied in memory devices to piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties used in actuators, transducers and thermal sensors. At the nanometer scale, however, material properties are expected to be different from those in bulk. Fundamental problems such as the super-paraelectric limit, the influence of the free surface, and of interfacial and bulk defects on ferroelectric switching, etc., arise when scaling down ferroelectrics to nanometer sizes. In order to study these size effects, fabrication methods of high quality nanoscale ferroelectric crystals have to be developed. The present paper briefly reviews self-patterning and self-assembly fabrication methods, including chemical routes, morphological instability of ultrathin films, microemulsion, and self-assembly lift-off, employed up to the date to fabricate ferroelectric structures with lateral sizes in the range of few tens of nanometers.