Field enhancement of electronic conductance at ferroelectric domain walls

Rama K. Vasudevan, Ye Cao, Nouamane Laanait, Anton Ievlev, Linglong Li, Jan Chi Yang, Ying-hao Chu, Long Qing Chen, Sergei V. Kalinin, Petro Maksymovych*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ferroelectric domain walls have continued to attract widespread attention due to both the novelty of the phenomena observed and the ability to reliably pattern them in nanoscale dimensions. However, the conductivity mechanisms remain in debate, particularly around nominally uncharged walls. Here, we posit a conduction mechanism relying on field-modification effect from polarization re-orientation and the structure of the reverse-domain nucleus. Through conductive atomic force microscopy measurements on an ultra-thin (001) BiFeO3 thin film, in combination with phase-field simulations, we show that the field-induced twisted domain nucleus formed at domain walls results in local-field enhancement around the region of the atomic force microscope tip. In conjunction with slight barrier lowering, these two effects are sufficient to explain the observed emission current distribution. These results suggest that different electronic properties at domain walls are not necessary to observe localized enhancement in domain wall currents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1318
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

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