Ultrafast switching in avalanche-driven ferroelectrics by supersonic kink movements

Ekhard K. H. Salje, Xiaofei Wang, Xiangdong Ding, James F. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Devices operating at GHz frequencies can be based on ferroelectric kink-domains moving at supersonic speed. The kinks are located inside ferroelastic twin boundaries and are extremely mobile. Computer simulation shows that strong forcing generates velocities well above the speed of sound. Kinks are accelerated from v = 0 continuously with Döring masses in the order of skyrmion masses under constant strain rates. Moving kinks emit phonons at all velocities, and the emission cones coincide with the Mach cones at supersonic speed. Kinks form avalanches with the emission of secondary kinks via a mother–daughter nucleation mechanism and may be observable in acoustic emission experiments. Supersonic kinks define a new type of material; while mobile domains are the key for ferroelastic and ferroelectric device applications at low frequencies, it is expected that fast kink movements replace such domain movements for materials applications at high frequencies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1700367
Number of pages6
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number21
Early online date3 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2017


  • Acoustic emission
  • Avalanche formation
  • Cracking noise
  • Ferroelectric switching
  • Ferroelastic walls
  • Kinks
  • Supersonic wall movements


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