Non-Ising and chiral ferroelectric domain walls revealed by nonlinear optical microscopy

Abstract : The properties of ferroelectric domain walls can significantly differ from those of their parent material. Elucidating their internal structure is essential for the design of advanced devices exploiting nanoscale ferroicity and such localized functional properties. Here, we probe the internal structure of 180° ferroelectric domain walls in lead zirconate titanate (PZT) thin films and lithium tantalate bulk crystals by means of second-harmonic generation microscopy. In both systems, we detect a pronounced second-harmonic signal at the walls. Local polarimetry analysis of this signal combined with numerical modelling reveals the existence of a planar polarization within the walls, with Ne´el and Bloch-like configurations in PZT and lithium tantalate, respectively. Moreover, we find domain wall chirality reversal at line defects crossing lithium tantalate crystals. Our results demonstrate a clear deviation from the ideal Ising configuration that is traditionally expected in uniaxial ferroelectrics, corroborating recent theoretical predictions of a more complex, often chiral structure.
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Contributor : Salia Cherifi-Hertel <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 8, 2019 - 10:11:16 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 1:53:15 AM

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Salia Cherifi-Hertel, Hervé Bulou, Riccardo Hertel, Gregory Taupier, Kokou Dodzi Dorkenoo, et al.. Non-Ising and chiral ferroelectric domain walls revealed by nonlinear optical microscopy. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 8 (1), ⟨10.1038/ncomms15768⟩. ⟨hal-02355141⟩



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