Current Applied Physics, Vol.19, No.4, 418-423, 2019
Superdomain structure and high conductivity at the vertices in the (111)-oriented epitaxial tetragonal Pb(Zr,Ti)O-3 thin film
Recently, in ferroelectric materials, there have been many experimental efforts to find out more intriguing topological objects and their functionalities, such as conduction property. Here we investigated ferroelectric domain structures and related topological defects in the (111)-oriented epitaxial tetragonal PbZr0.35Ti0.65O3 thin film. Systematic piezoresponse force microscopy measurements revealed that the field-induced polarization switching can form thermodynamically stable superdomain structures composed of nano-sized stripe sub-domains. Within such superdomain structures, we observed the exotic equilateral triangular in-plane flux-closure domains composed of three stripe domain bundles with 120/120/120 degrees of separation. The conductive-atomic force microscopy measurements under vacuum showed that some vertices have significantly higher conductivity compared to other surrounding regions. This work highlights electric field-driven polarization switching and unique crystallographic symmetry (here, three-fold rotational symmetry) can generate exotic ferroelectric domain structures and functional topological defects, such as conducive vertices.