Spontaneous vortex nanodomain arrays at ferroelectric heterointerfaces

Nano Lett. 2011 Feb 9;11(2):828-34. doi: 10.1021/nl1041808. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


The polarization of the ferroelectric BiFeO(3) sub-jected to different electrical boundary conditions by heterointerfaces is imaged with atomic resolution using a spherical aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope. Unusual triangular-shaped nanodomains are seen, and their role in providing polarization closure is understood through phase-field simulations. Heterointerfaces are key to the performance of ferroelectric devices, and this first observation of spontaneous vortex nanodomain arrays at ferroelectric heterointerfaces reveals properties unlike the surrounding film including mixed Ising-Néel domain walls, which will affect switching behavior, and a drastic increase of in-plane polarization. The importance of magnetization closure has long been appreciated in multidomain ferromagnetic systems; imaging this analogous effect with atomic resolution at ferroelectric heterointerfaces provides the ability to see device-relevant interface issues. Extension of this technique to visualize domain dynamics is envisioned.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ferric Compounds / chemistry*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Magnetics
  • Materials Testing
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Surface Properties


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • ferric oxide