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  1. Abstract

    Polar skyrmions are predicted to emerge from the interplay of elastic, electrostatic and gradient energies, in contrast to the key role of the anti-symmetric Dzyalozhinskii-Moriya interaction in magnetic skyrmions. Here, we explore the reversible transition from a skyrmion state (topological charge of −1) to a two-dimensional, tetratic lattice of merons (with topological charge of −1/2) upon varying the temperature and elastic boundary conditions in [(PbTiO3)16/(SrTiO3)16]8membranes. This topological phase transition is accompanied by a change in chirality, from zero-net chirality (in meronic phase) to net-handedness (in skyrmionic phase). We show how scanning electron diffraction provides a robust measure of the local polarization simultaneously with the strain state at sub-nm resolution, while also directly mapping the chirality of each skyrmion. Using this, we demonstrate strain as a crucial order parameter to drive isotropic-to-anisotropic structural transitions of chiral polar skyrmions to non-chiral merons, validated with X-ray reciprocal space mapping and phase-field simulations.

  2. Abstract

    In pursuit of scientific discovery, vast collections of unstructured structural and functional images are acquired; however, only an infinitesimally small fraction of this data is rigorously analyzed, with an even smaller fraction ever being published. One method to accelerate scientific discovery is to extract more insight from costly scientific experiments already conducted. Unfortunately, data from scientific experiments tend only to be accessible by the originator who knows the experiments and directives. Moreover, there are no robust methods to search unstructured databases of images to deduce correlations and insight. Here, we develop a machine learning approach to create image similarity projections to search unstructured image databases. To improve these projections, we develop and train a model to include symmetry-aware features. As an exemplar, we use a set of 25,133 piezoresponse force microscopy images collected on diverse materials systems over five years. We demonstrate how this tool can be used for interactive recursive image searching and exploration, highlighting structural similarities at various length scales. This tool justifies continued investment in federated scientific databases with standardized metadata schemas where the combination of filtering and recursive interactive searching can uncover synthesis-structure-property relations. We provide a customizable open-source package ( of thismore »interactive tool for researchers to use with their data.

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  3. We report the first experimental demonstration of ferroelectric field-effect transistor (FEFET) based spiking neurons. A unique feature of the ferroelectric (FE) neuron demonstrated herein is the availability of both excitatory and inhibitory input connections in the compact 1T-1FEFET structure, which is also reported for the first time for any neuron implementations. Such dual neuron functionality is a key requirement for bio-mimetic neural networks and represents a breakthrough for implementation of the third generation spiking neural networks (SNNs)-also reported herein for unsupervised learning and clustering on real world data for the first time. The key to our demonstration is the careful design of two important device level features: (1) abrupt hysteretic transitions of the FEFET with no stable states therein, and (2) the dynamic tunability of the FEFET hysteresis by bias conditions which allows for the inhibition functionality. Experimentally calibrated, multi-domain Preisach based FEFET models were used to accurately simulate the FE neurons and project their performance at scaled nodes. We also implement an SNN for unsupervised clustering and benchmark the network performance across analog CMOS and emerging technologies and observe (1) unification of excitatory and inhibitory neural connections, (2) STDP based learning, (3) lowest reported power (3.6nW) during classification, andmore »(4) a classification accuracy of 93%.« less
  4. Abstract

    Despite extensive studies on size effects in ferroelectrics, how structures and properties evolve in antiferroelectrics with reduced dimensions still remains elusive. Given the enormous potential of utilizing antiferroelectrics for high‐energy‐density storage applications, understanding their size effects will provide key information for optimizing device performances at small scales. Here, the fundamental intrinsic size dependence of antiferroelectricity in lead‐free NaNbO3membranes is investigated. Via a wide range of experimental and theoretical approaches, an intriguing antiferroelectric‐to‐ferroelectric transition upon reducing membrane thickness is probed. This size effect leads to a ferroelectric single‐phase below 40 nm, as well as a mixed‐phase state with ferroelectric and antiferroelectric orders coexisting above this critical thickness. Furthermore, it is shown that the antiferroelectric and ferroelectric orders are electrically switchable. First‐principle calculations further reveal that the observed transition is driven by the structural distortion arising from the membrane surface. This work provides direct experimental evidence for intrinsic size‐driven scaling in antiferroelectrics and demonstrates enormous potential of utilizing size effects to drive emergent properties in environmentally benign lead‐free oxides with the membrane platform.