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Direct measurement of triaxial strain fields around ferroelectric domains using X-ray microdiffraction


Ferroelectric materials, such as BaTiO3, have piezoelectric properties that make them attractive for microelectronic and sensing applications1. It is well known that the application of mechanical stress or electric field can alter the domain structure in ferroelectrics1,2,3,4,5,6. Indeed, the constitutive behaviour of a ferroelectric is largely governed by the formation, movement and interaction of its domains. Therefore, it is crucial that the micromechanics of domains and their effect on internal stresses in ferroelectrics be understood. Here we show that the emerging technique of scanning X-ray microdiffraction7 can be used to measure directly, for the first time, the local triaxial strain fields around 90° domains in single-crystal BaTiO3. Specifically, residual strain maps in a region surrounding an isolated, approximately 40 μm wide, 90° domain were obtained with 3 μm resolution, revealing significant residual strains. This information is critical for accurate micromechanical modelling of domain behaviour in ferroelectrics.

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Figure 1: The sample geometry (not to scale).
Figure 2: Variation of εxx around a single, 90° domain in BaTiO3.
Figure 3: y-integrated average of two strain components in the same region as in Fig. 2.


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R. C. Rogan is supported by the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative at Caltech on Engineering Microstructural Complexity in Ferroelectric Devices (Army Research Office grant no. DAAD19-01-1-0517). E. Üstündag is partially funded by the National Science Foundation (CAREER grant no. DMR-9985264). The Advanced Light Source is supported by Office of Basic Energy Sciences, the US Department of Energy under contract no. DE-AC03-76SF00098. The BaTiO3 specimen was provided by G. Ravichandran from the Caltech Corporation. Insightful discussions with K. Bhattacharya and W. Zhang are gratefully acknowledged.

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Rogan, R., Tamura, N., Swift, G. et al. Direct measurement of triaxial strain fields around ferroelectric domains using X-ray microdiffraction. Nature Mater 2, 379–381 (2003).

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