Time-resolved X-ray diffraction reveals the hidden mechanism of high piezoelectric activity in a uniaxial ferroelectric

Semën Gorfman, Hyeokmin Choe, Vladimir V. Shvartsman, Michael Ziolkowski, Marco Vogt, Jörg Strempfer, Tadeusz Łukasiewicz, Ullrich Pietsch, Jan Dec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

High piezoelectric activity of many ferroelectrics has been the focus of numerous recent studies. The structural origin of this activity remains poorly understood due to a lack of appropriate experimental techniques and mixing of different mechanisms related to ferroelectricity and ferroelasticity. Our work reports on the study of a uniaxial Sr0.5Ba0.5Nb2O6 ferroelectric where the formation of regions with different spontaneous strains is ruled out by the symmetry and where the interrelation between piezoelectricity and ferroelectricity can be inspected in an isolated fashion. We performed x-ray diffraction experiments on a single crystalline sample under alternating electric field and observed an unknown hidden-in-the-bulk mechanism, which suggests that the highest piezoelectric activity is realized in the volumes where nucleation of small ferroelectric domains takes place. This new mechanism creates a novel roadmap for designing materials with enhanced piezoelectric properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number097601
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume114
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

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