Lamellar fluctuations melt ferroelectricity

G. G. Guzmán-Verri, C. H. Liang, P. B. Littlewood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider a standard Ginzburg-Landau model of a ferroelectric whose electrical polarization is coupled to gradients of elastic strain. At the harmonic level, such flexoelectric interaction is known to hybridize acoustic and optic phonon modes and lead to phases with modulated lattice structures that precede the state with spontaneously broken inversion symmetry. Here, we use the self-consistent phonon approximation to calculate the effects of thermal and quantum polarization fluctuations on the bare hybridized modes to show that such long-range modulated order is unstable at all temperatures. We discuss the implications for the nearly ferroelectric SrTiO3 and KTaO3, and we propose that these systems are melted versions of an underlying modulated state that is dominated by nonzero momentum thermal fluctuations except at the very lowest temperatures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number046801
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
Early online date25 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2023


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