Kinetics of Domain Switching by Mechanical and Electrical Stimulation in Relaxor-Based Ferroelectrics
Ferroelectric materials have been extensively explored for applications in high-density nonvolatile memory devices because of their ferroelectric-ferroelastic domain-switching behavior under electric loading or mechanical stress. However, the existence of ferroelectric and ferroelastic backswitching would cause significant data loss, which affects the reliability of data storage. Here, we apply in situ transmission electron microscopy and phase-field modeling to explore the unique ferroelastic domain-switching kinetics and the origin of this in relaxor-based Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3−33%PbTiO3 single-crystal pillars under electrical and mechanical stimulations. Results showed that the electric-mechanical hysteresis loop shifted for relaxor-based single-crystal pillars because of the low energy levels of domains in the material and the constraint on the pillars, resulting in various mechanically reversible and irreversible domain-switching states. The phenomenon can potentially be used for advanced bit writing and reading in nonvolatile memories, which effectively overcomes the backswitching problem and broadens the types of ferroelectric materials for nonvolatile memory applications.