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Publication

Stabilization of Polar Nanoregions in Pb-free Ferroelectrics...

Publication Type
Journal
Journal Name
Physical Review Letters
Publication Date
Page Number
207603
Volume
120
Issue
20

The formation of polar nanoregions through solid-solution additions is known to enhance significantly the functional properties of ferroelectric materials. Despite considerable progress in characterizing the microscopic behavior of polar nanoregions (PNR), understanding their real-space atomic structure and dynamics of their formation remains a considerable challenge. Here, using the method of dynamic pair distribution function, we provide direct insights into the role of solid-solution additions towards the stabilization of polar nanoregions in the Pb-free ferroelectric of Ba(Zr,Ti)O3. It is shown that for an optimum level of substitution of Ti by larger Zr ions, the dynamics of atomic displacements for ferroelectric polarization are slowed sufficiently below THz frequencies, which leads to increased local correlation among dipoles within PNRs. The dynamic pair distribution function technique demonstrates a unique capability to obtain insights into locally correlated atomic dynamics in disordered materials, including new Pb-free ferroelectrics, which is necessary to understand and control their functional properties.