Microscopic local fatigue in PZT thin films


The reduction in switchable polarization during fatigue largely limits the application of PZT thin films in ferroelectric nonvolatile memories. So, it is very important to understand the fatigue mechanism in PZT films, especially at a nanoscale level. In this paper, nanoscale fatigue properties in PZT thin films have been studied by piezoresponse force microscopy and local piezoloops. It has been found that a piezoloop obtained on a fatigued point exhibits a much more pinched shape and a local imprint phenomenon is observed after severe fatigue. Furthermore, the domain structure evolves from a simple single-peak profile to a complex fluctuant one. However, there is only some shift of the piezoloop when a unipolar field with the same amplitude is applied on the film. The available experimental data show that there exist obvious domain wall pinning and injection of electrons into the film during fatigue. Finally, a schematic illustration is suggested to explain the possible fatigue mechanism.



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Li, BS; Wu, A; Vilarinho, PM

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