, Volume 44, Issue 19, pp 5354-5363,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 17 Apr 2009

Influence of long-range dipolar interactions on the phase stability and hysteresis shapes of ferroelectric and antiferroelectric multilayers


Phase transition and field driven hysteresis evolution of a two-dimensional Ising grid consisting of ferroelectric–antiferroelectric multilayers that take into account the long range dipolar interactions were simulated by a Monte–Carlo method. Simulations were carried out for a 1 + 1 bilayer and a 5 + 5 superlattice. Phase stabilities of components comprising the structures with an electrostatic-like coupling term were also studied. An electrostatic-like coupling, in the absence of an applied field, can drive the ferroelectric layers toward 180° domains with very flat domain interfaces mainly due to the competition between this term and the dipole–dipole interaction. The antiferroelectric layers do not undergo an antiferroelectric-to-ferroelectric transition under the influence of an electrostatic-like coupling between layers as the ferroelectric layer splits into periodic domains at the expense of the domain wall energy. The long-range interactions become significant near the interfaces. For high periodicity structures with several interfaces, the interlayer long-range interactions substantially impact the configuration of the ferroelectric layers while the antiferroelectric layers remain quite stable unless these layers are near the Neel temperature. In systems investigated with several interfaces, the hysteresis loops do not exhibit a clear presence of antiferroelectricity that could be expected in the presence of anti-parallel dipoles, i.e., the switching takes place abruptly. Some recent experimental observations in ferroelectric–antiferroelectric multilayers are discussed where we conclude that the different electrical properties of bilayers and superlattices are not only due to strain effects alone but also due to long-range interactions. The latter manifests itself particularly in superlattices where layers are periodically exposed to each other at the interfaces.