Strain-driven phase boundaries in BiFeO3 thin films studied by atomic force microscopy and x-ray diffraction

Heng Jui Liu*, Chen Wei Liang, Wen I. Liang, Hsiang Jung Chen, Jan Chi Yang, Chun Yen Peng, Guang Fu Wang, Feng Nan Chu, Yi Chun Chen, Hsin Yi Lee, Li Chang, Su Jien Lin, Ying-hao Chu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


We report a detailed study on the strain-driven phase transition between the tetragonal-like and rhombohedral-like phases in epitaxial BiFeO 3 (BFO) thin films which focuses on their structural nature, thermodynamic stability, and ferroelectric/piezoelectric properties. We first show that the tetragonal-like phase, which has a large c/a ratio (∼1.2), in the compressively strained BFO is thermodynamically more favorable at high temperature and high strain state (small thickness). We also report a phase transition between two monoclinic phases at 150°C. The two monoclinic phases are differentiated by their c-axis parameters and tilting angles: The low-temperature phase (M C ) has a c-axis parameter of 4.64 and a tilting angle (β = 88.5°) along the a axis, while the high-temperature phase (M A ) has a c-axis parameter of 4.66 and a tilting angle (β = 86.8°) along both of the a and b axes. We further show that samples undergoing the M C -M A phase transition exhibit ferroelectric polarization rotation and piezoelectric enhancement. Our findings directly unveil the close links between structural changes, polarization rotation, and large piezoelectricity at morphotropic phase boundaries in BiFeO 3 .

Original languageEnglish
Article number014104
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 Jan 2012

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