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  1. 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%more »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Polar vortices in oxide superlattices exhibit complex polarization topologies. Using a combination of electron energy loss near-edge structure analysis, crystal field multiplet theory, and first-principles calculations, we probe the electronic structure within such polar vortices in [(PbTiO 3 ) 16 /(SrTiO 3 ) 16 ] superlattices at the atomic scale. The peaks in Ti $$L$$ L -edge spectra shift systematically depending on the position of the Ti 4+ cations within the vortices i.e., the direction and magnitude of the local dipole. First-principles computation of the local projected density of states on the Ti $$3d$$ 3 d orbitals, together withmore »the simulated crystal field multiplet spectra derived from first principles are in good agreement with the experiments.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  4. The AA′-stacked FCGT is a new class of room-temperature Néel-type skyrmion hosting material with C 6v symmetry.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 25, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  6. Abstract As the length scales of materials decrease, the heterogeneities associated with interfaces become almost as important as the surrounding materials. This has led to extensive studies of emergent electronic and magnetic interface properties in superlattices 1–9 . However, the interfacial vibrations that affect the phonon-mediated properties, such as thermal conductivity 10,11 , are measured using macroscopic techniques that lack spatial resolution. Although it is accepted that intrinsic phonons change near boundaries 12,13 , the physical mechanisms and length scales through which interfacial effects influence materials remain unclear. Here we demonstrate the localized vibrational response of interfaces in strontium titanate–calcium titanate superlatticesmore »by combining advanced scanning transmission electron microscopy imaging and spectroscopy, density functional theory calculations and ultrafast optical spectroscopy. Structurally diffuse interfaces that bridge the bounding materials are observed and this local structure creates phonon modes that determine the global response of the superlattice once the spacing of the interfaces approaches the phonon spatial extent. Our results provide direct visualization of the progression of the local atomic structure and interface vibrations as they come to determine the vibrational response of an entire superlattice. Direct observation of such local atomic and vibrational phenomena demonstrates that their spatial extent needs to be quantified to understand macroscopic behaviour. Tailoring interfaces, and knowing their local vibrational response, provides a means of pursuing designer solids with emergent infrared and thermal responses.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 27, 2023
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  8. Thin-film electrostatic engineering is used to uncover a hidden antiferroelectric phase.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 4, 2023