Manipulation of domain wall mobility by oxygen vacancy ordering in multiferroic YMnO3
The mobility of the ferroelectric domain phases and the local conductivity of ferroelectric domain walls in multiferroic YMnO3 crystals grown in air and reduced atmosphere were studied by piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM), tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) and conductive atomic force microscopy (CAFM). Oxygen vacancies were found to reduce the strength of 4d–2p (Y3+–O2−) hybridization and structural trimerization distortion, leading to the disappearance of the six wedge-shaped ferroelectric domain phases in oxygen deficient YMnO3−δ crystals. We observed anisotropic domain wall motion such that the wedge-shaped domain configuration joined at one point could be changed to the stripe domain configuration by applying high electric fields in oxygen deficient YMnO3−δ single crystals. The local conductivity of the domain walls increased significantly in poled YMnO3−δ single crystals. The straight conductive domain walls in YMnO3−δ, instead of the twisted insulating ones in the stoichiometric crystal, are induced by the ordered oxygen vacancies which are verified by TERS measurements.