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Title: Domain-dependent strain and stacking in two-dimensional van der Waals ferroelectrics

Van der Waals (vdW) ferroelectrics have attracted significant attention for their potential in next-generation nano-electronics. Two-dimensional (2D) group-IV monochalcogenides have emerged as a promising candidate due to their strong room temperature in-plane polarization down to a monolayer limit. However, their polarization is strongly coupled with the lattice strain and stacking orders, which impact their electronic properties. Here, we utilize four-dimensional scanning transmission electron microscopy (4D-STEM) to simultaneously probe the in-plane strain and out-of-plane stacking in vdW SnSe. Specifically, we observe large lattice strain up to 4% with a gradient across ~50 nm to compensate lattice mismatch at domain walls, mitigating defects initiation. Additionally, we discover the unusual ferroelectric-to-antiferroelectric domain walls stabilized by vdW force and may lead to anisotropic nonlinear optical responses. Our findings provide a comprehensive understanding of in-plane and out-of-plane structures affecting domain properties in vdW SnSe, laying the foundation for domain wall engineering in vdW ferroelectrics.

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Award ID(s):
2039380 2132105 2239545
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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