Domain structure and polarization reversal in ferroelectric lanthanum-modified lead titanate ceramics investigated by piezoresponse force microscopy

Research paper by André Marino Gonçalves, Fernando Andres Londono, Ducinei Garcia, José Antonio Eiras

Indexed on: 13 Jan '16Published on: 13 Jan '16Published in: Journal of Materials Science


In this work, the ferroelectric domain structure of (Pb0.79La0.21)TiO3 transparent ceramics and its response to an applied electric field were investigated by piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM). A qualitative three-dimensional reconstruction of the domains by PFM measurements revealed that the domain structure consists in stripes in two size scales (micro and nanometer) separated by 90° domain walls coexisting with 180° domains. While the nanoscale 90° domains were found arranged in organized structures, (e.g., lamellas, herringbones, and other unusual configurations), the 180° domains form a “labyrinth” structure, typical of ferroelectrics with a degree of disorder. Local application of an electric field reveals different coercive voltages to reorient 180° and the two types of 90° domains and the appearance of a different nanoscale 90° domain structure after poling. While the labyrinth structure is destroyed with relative low voltages, the created 90° domains structure persists, avoiding the formation of a single-domain structure.