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Effect of Local Structural Distortions on Antiferroelectric–Ferroelectric Phase Transition in Dilute Solid Solutions of KxN...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Inorganic Chemistry
Publication Date
Page Numbers
20277 to 20287

The fundamental principles that govern antiferroelectric (AFE)–ferroelectric (FE) transitions are not well understood for many solid solutions of perovskite compounds. For example, crystal chemical considerations based on the average Goldschmidt tolerance factor or ionic polarizability do not precisely predict the boundary between the AFE and FE phases in dilute solid solutions of alkali niobates, such as KxNa1–xNbO3 (x ≤ 0.02). Here, based on detailed structural analysis from neutron total scattering experiments, we provide insights about how the relative local distortions around the A- and B-sites of the ABO3 perovskite structure affect the AFE/FE order of the average crystallographic phases in KxNa1–xNbO3. We show that a higher (lower) ratio of B-site-centered distortions over A-site-centered distortions drives transition toward a long-range FE (AFE) phase, which is based on a competition between the long-range polarizing field of the Nb–O dipoles and the disordering effect of local distortions around the A-site. Our study provides a predictive tool for designing complex solid-solution perovskites with tunable (anti)ferroelectric polarization properties, which can be of interest for various energy-related applications such as high-density energy storage and solid-state cooling.