Polarization Switching of the Incommensurate Phases Induced by Flexoelectric Coupling in Ferroelectric Thin Films


The polarization switching of the incommensurate (INC) phases induced by flexocoupling in perovskite ferroelectric thin films is investigated with a multi-field coupling theoretical framework combining the flexoelectric effect. The dominant factors of the formation of INC phases that show antiferroelectric-like double hysteresis loops are examined. The simulations show that mechanical boundary conditions have little influence on the polarization responses of INC phases. The polarization switching behaviors of INC phases are governed by the flexocoupling types described by different flexocoupling coefficients. Only the transverse flexocoupling coefficient related INC phases show antiferroelectric-like double hysteresis loop. The longitudinal flexocoupling coefficient related and shear flexocoupling coefficient related INC phases show imprint-like hysteresis loops and hysteresis loops similar to those of the ferroelectric phase, respectively. The observed different polarization switching behaviors are rationalized by free energy density curves of the INC phases.


Materials Science and Engineering


This work was financially supported by Key Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11032010 , 11372266 and 11172257) and the US National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DMR-1410714 , DMR-0820404 , and DMR-1210588.

Keywords and Phrases

Ferroelectric thin film; Flexoelectric coupling; Incommensurate phase; Phase field method; Polarization switching

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Article - Journal

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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2015