Domain switching in polycrystalline ferroelectric ceramics


NATURE MATERIALS, vol.4, no.10, pp.776-781, 2005 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/nmat1485
  • Journal Name: NATURE MATERIALS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.776-781
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


Ferroelectric ceramics are widely used as sensors and actuators for their electro- mechanical properties, and in electronic applications for their dielectric properties. Domain switching - the phenomenon wherein the ferroelectric material changes from one spontaneously polarized state to another under electrical or mechanical loads - is an important attribute of these materials. However, this is a complex collective process in commercially used polycrystalline ceramics that are agglomerations of a very large number of variously oriented grains. As the domains in one grain attempt to switch, they are constrained by the differently oriented neighbouring grains. Here we use a combined theoretical and experimental approach to establish a relation between crystallographic symmetry and the ability of a ferroelectric polycrystalline ceramic to switch. In particular, we show that equiaxed polycrystals of materials that are either tetragonal or rhombohedral cannot switch; yet polycrystals of materials where these two symmetries co- exist can in fact switch.