Interfacial ferroelectricity by van der Waals sliding

M. Vizner Stern, Y. Waschitz, W. Cao, I. Nevo, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, E. Sela, M. Urbakh, O. Hod, M. Ben Shalom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite their partial ionic nature, many-layered diatomic crystals avoid internal electric polarization by forming a centrosymmetric lattice at their optimal van der Waals stacking. Here, we report a stable ferroelectric order emerging at the interface between two naturally grown flakes of hexagonal boron nitride, which are stacked together in a metastable non-centrosymmetric parallel orientation. We observe alternating domains of inverted normal polarization, caused by a lateral shift of one lattice site between the domains. Reversible polarization switching coupled to lateral sliding is achieved by scanning a biased tip above the surface. Our calculations trace the origin of the phenomenon to a subtle interplay between charge redistribution and ionic displacement and provide intuitive insights to explore the interfacial polarization and its distinctive "slidetronics"switching mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-1466
Number of pages1325
Issue number6549
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2021


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