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Title: The role of lattice dynamics in ferroelectric switching
Abstract Reducing the switching energy of ferroelectric thin films remains an important goal in the pursuit of ultralow-power ferroelectric memory and logic devices. Here, we elucidate the fundamental role of lattice dynamics in ferroelectric switching by studying both freestanding bismuth ferrite (BiFeO 3 ) membranes and films clamped to a substrate. We observe a distinct evolution of the ferroelectric domain pattern, from striped, 71° ferroelastic domains (spacing of ~100 nm) in clamped BiFeO 3 films, to large (10’s of micrometers) 180° domains in freestanding films. By removing the constraints imposed by mechanical clamping from the substrate, we can realize a ~40% reduction of the switching voltage and a consequent ~60% improvement in the switching speed. Our findings highlight the importance of a dynamic clamping process occurring during switching, which impacts strain, ferroelectric, and ferrodistortive order parameters and plays a critical role in setting the energetics and dynamics of ferroelectric switching.
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Nature Communications
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National Science Foundation
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