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Negative capacitance in a ferroelectric capacitor


The Boltzmann distribution of electrons poses a fundamental barrier to lowering energy dissipation in conventional electronics, often termed as Boltzmann Tyranny1,2,3,4,5. Negative capacitance in ferroelectric materials, which stems from the stored energy of a phase transition, could provide a solution, but a direct measurement of negative capacitance has so far been elusive1,2,3. Here, we report the observation of negative capacitance in a thin, epitaxial ferroelectric film. When a voltage pulse is applied, the voltage across the ferroelectric capacitor is found to be decreasing with time—in exactly the opposite direction to which voltage for a regular capacitor should change. Analysis of this ‘inductance’-like behaviour from a capacitor presents an unprecedented insight into the intrinsic energy profile of the ferroelectric material and could pave the way for completely new applications.

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Figure 1: Energy landscape description of the ferroelectric negative capacitance.
Figure 2: Transient response of a ferroelectric capacitor.
Figure 3: Experimental measurement of negative capacitance.
Figure 4: Simulation of the time dynamics of the ferroelectric switching.


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This work was supported in part by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Center for Low Energy Systems Technology (LEAST), one of the six SRC STARnet Centers, sponsored by MARCO and DARPA and the NSF E3S Center at Berkeley. A.I.K. acknowledges the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship 2012–2013.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.I.K. and C.S. grew the PZT films. A.I.K., K.C., B.W. and S.D. performed the time-dependence measurements. A.I.K., L.Y., C.S. and S.R.B. performed the structural and electrical characterization of the thin films. A.I.K. and S.S. conceived and designed the experiment. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Sayeef Salahuddin.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Khan, A., Chatterjee, K., Wang, B. et al. Negative capacitance in a ferroelectric capacitor. Nature Mater 14, 182–186 (2015).

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