Efficient switching and domain interlocking observed in polyaxial ferroelectrics

A. Krishnan, Michael Treacy, M. E. Bisher, P. Chandra, P. B. Littlewood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


We present transmission electron microscopy observations of domain wall motion in thin freestanding KNbO 3 crystals under applied electric fields. Since there is no substrate, there is no elastic clamping of 90° domains. We observe that curved and tilted 90° domain walls are the most mobile, whereas untilted 90° domain walls are resistant to field-induced motion. We explain this result in terms of two factors. First, the switching pressure on a domain wall (P 1-P 1) · E is determined by the relative electrostatic energies of the neighboring polarizations P 1 and P 2. Consequently, some 90° domain walls are immobile under certain field directions, leading to domain interlocking. Second, domain walls experiencing a high switching pressure move by a ripple mechanism, and do not move as rigid sheets. The tilted wall region in such a ripple has a polarization charge, and an associated depolarization field, which reduces the local switching barrier. An accumulation of polarization charge can result in a tilted or curved wall, as occurs at the mobile tips of 90° domain needles. Any increase in density of immobile wall configurations with cycle time represents an inherent contribution to fatigue. Uniaxial ferroelectrics, with polarizations parallel to the field, should not experience such domain interlocking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntegrated Ferroelectrics
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Domain interlocking
  • Switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Efficient switching and domain interlocking observed in polyaxial ferroelectrics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this