Tip-induced domain structures and polarization switching in ferroelectric amino acid glycine


Bioorganic ferroelectrics and piezoelectrics are becoming increasingly important in view of their intrinsic compatibility with biological environment and biofunctionality combined with strong piezoelectric effect and a switchable polarization at room temperature. Here, we study tip-induced domain structures and polarization switching in the smallest amino acid beta-glycine, representing a broad class of non-centrosymmetric amino acids. We show that beta-glycine is indeed a room-temperature ferroelectric and polarization can be switched by applying a bias to non-polar cuts via a conducting tip of atomic force microscope (AFM). Dynamics of these in-plane domains is studied as a function of an applied voltage and pulse duration. The domain shape is dictated by polarization screening at the domain boundaries and mediated by growth defects. Thermodynamic theory is applied to explain the domain propagation induced by the AFM tip. Our findings suggest that the properties of beta-glycine are controlled by the charged domain walls which in turn can be manipulated by an external bias. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.



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Seyedhosseini, E; Bdikin, I; Ivanov, M; Vasileva, D; Kudryavtsev, A; Rodriguez, BJ; Kholkin, AL

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The work was funded by the European Commission within the FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network

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