Deterministic dual control of phase competition in strained BiFeO3: a multiparametric structural lithography approach

Nathan Black, David Edwards, Niall Browne, Joseph G. M. Guy, Niyorjyoti Sharma, Kristina M. Holsgrove, Aaron B. Naden, Raymond G. P. McQuaid, Brian J. Rodriguez, Amit Kumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The realization of a mixed-phase microstructure in strained BiFeO3 (BFO) thin films has led to numerous novel effects derived from the coexistence of the tetragonal-like monoclinic phase (T phase) and rhombohedral-like monoclinic phase (R phase). Strong strain and polarization differences between the phases should result in a high level of transformation plasticity, which enables the continuous alteration of the relative proportion of R and T states in response to external forces. Although the potential for utilizing such plasticity to control mixed-phase populations under external stimuli is evident, direct experimental evidence backed by equilibrium predictions has not yet been fully demonstrated. Here we demonstrate deterministic control of mixed-phase populations in an epitaxially strained BFO thin film through the application of localized stresses and electric fields in a reversible manner. The results illustrate and rationalize deterministic control of mixed phases in strained BFO films, which could be crucial in tuning their functional properties. The findings also highlight a new multiparametric technique in the scanning probe lithography toolbox based on tip-assisted electric and strain field manipulation of functional properties that might find application beyond the ferroelectric domain and structural phase lithography.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalNanomanufacturing and Metrology
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date17 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Dec 2021


  • Phase competition
  • Ferroelectric
  • Stress
  • Lithography


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