, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 199-210

Kinetics of ferroelectric domains: Application of general approach to LiNbO3 and LiTaO3

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Abstract

We review the most interesting aspects of the domain structure kinetics in ferroelectrics important for “domain engineering” and discuss them in the framework of a unified nucleation approach. In our approach the nucleation rate is determined by the local value of electric field produced not only by bound charges and voltage applied to the electrodes, but also by screening charges. As a result, any kinetically produced domain pattern, even being far from the equilibrium, can be stabilized by bulk screening. The domain evolution represents a self-organizing process in which the screening of polarization plays the role of feedback. The general approach was applied for the description of the domain kinetics in lithium niobate and lithium tantalate as the most versatile materials for applications. The revealed original scenarios of the domain structure evolution are attributed to the retardation of the screening processes. The decisive role of screening effectiveness for shapes of individual domains and scenarios of the sideways domain wall motion is demonstrated both experimentally and by computer simulation. The possibility to produce a self-assembled nano-scale domain structures with controlled periods has been shown.