Control of polarization in bulk ferroelectrics by mechanical dislocation imprint
Defects are essential to engineering the properties of functional materials ranging from semiconductors and superconductors to ferroics. Whereas point defects have been widely exploited, dislocations are commonly viewed as problematic for functional materials and not as a microstructural tool. We developed a method for mechanically imprinting dislocation networks that favorably skew the domain structure in bulk ferroelectrics and thereby tame the large switching polarization and make it available for functional harvesting. The resulting microstructure yields a strong mechanical restoring force to revert electric field–induced domain wall displacement on the macroscopic level and high pinning force on the local level. This induces a giant increase of the dielectric and electromechanical response at intermediate electric fields in barium titanate [electric field–dependent permittivity (ε33) ≈ 5800 and large-signal piezoelectric coefficient (d33*) ≈ 1890 picometers/volt]. Dislocation-based anisotropy delivers a different suite of tools with which to tailor functional materials.
This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science on May 28, 2021 (vol. 372). DOI: 10.1126/science.abe3810.