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Temperature-Assisted Piezoresponse Force Microscopy: Probing Local Temperature-Induced Phase Transitions in Ferroics...

by Anna Morozovska, Eugene Eliseev, Kyle P Kelley, Sergei V Kalinin
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Physical Review Applied
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The combination of local heating and biasing at the tip-surface junction in temperature-assisted piezoresponse force microscopy (TPFM) opens a pathway for probing local temperature-induced phase transitions in ferroics, exploring the temperature dependence of polarization dynamics in ferroelectrics and potentially discovering coupled phenomena driven by strong temperature and electric field gradients. Here, we analyze the signal-formation mechanism in TPFM and explore the interplay between thermal- and bias-induced switching in model ferroelectric materials. We further explore the contributions of the flexoelectric and thermopolarization effects to the local electromechanical response and demonstrate that the latter can be significant for “soft” ferroelectrics. These results establish a framework for the quantitative interpretation of TPFM observations, predict the emergence of nontrivial switching and relaxation phenomena driven by nonlocal thermal-gradient-induced polarization switching, and open a pathway for exploring the physics of thermopolarization effects in various noncentrosymmetric and centrosymmetric materials.