Thermotropic phase boundaries (TPBs), as thermal analogs of morphotropic phase boundaries (MPBs), are associated with the thermal inter-ferroelectric phase transitions. Similar to an MPB, a TPB exhibits a characteristically flattened energy profile which favors polarization rotation, thus giving rise to a structurally bridging low-symmetry phase. We report on the kinetic process of thermal inter-ferroelectric phase transitions in BaTiO3 and KNbO3 using the phase-field method. The domain structures are found to play key roles in stabilizing the monoclinic phase. In simple domain structures, the monoclinic phase is a transient phase and cannot be stabilized into its neighboring phase regimes. However, by introducing structural inhomogeneity (orthogonal in-plane domain twins), we found that the monoclinic phase can be stabilized over a range of over 100 K across the transition. As a result, the piezoelectric properties are enhanced due to the stabilized monoclinic phase. In addition to the emergence of new piezoelectric components with monoclinic symmetry, most of the original components present in the tetragonal symmetry also show substantial enhancement with the rotation of polarization.


Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Ferroelectric materials; Ferroelectricity; Ferroelectric single

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1098-0121; 1550-235X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2014 American Physical Society (APS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2014