Needle-Like Ferroelastic Domains in Individual Ferroelectric Nanoparticles

Zhen Liu, Elijah Schold, Dmitry Karpov, Ross Harder, Turab Lookman, Edwin Fohtung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Superior structural, physical, and electronic properties make ferroelectric nanocrystals essential in enabling a range of next-generation devices. Ferroelectric responses are determined by crystal structure and domain morphology. The ability to reversibly displace, create, and annihilate elastic domains is critical to device applications. Although electric-field control has been demonstrated for ferroelectric 180° surface domain walls and vortices, similar control of ferroelastic domains and domain boundaries within individual nanocrystals remains challenging. Using controlled external compressive and tensile axial stress, deterministic and reversible control of highly mobile ferroelastic domains and axial polarization in three dimensions is demonstrated. While many studies exist on ferroelastic domains in thin films and bulk, little is known about ferroelastic interactions at the single nanoparticle level, especially involving domain boundaries. Through combining Bragg coherent X-ray diffractive imaging and Landau theory, strain gradients in individual BaTiO3 nanocrystals are shown to stabilize needle-like ferroelastic twin domains. These domains are highly labile under applied axial stress, producing a locally enhanced electric polarization mediated by a ferroelectric phase transition. The efficacy of Bragg coherent X-ray diffractive imaging in studying in operando domains in three dimensions is demonstrated, while synergy with theory provides a paradigm for domain boundary engineering and potential for nanoscale functional devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1901300
JournalAdvanced Electronic Materials
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • axial stress
  • barium titanate
  • domain boundaries
  • ferroelastic domains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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