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Research Highlight

Dynamic Trapping of Metastable States on the Nanoscale

Dynamic hysteresis loops in nanoscale volumes reveal the signatures of a triple potential well, where a transient metastable state with zero polarization separates the transition between stable polarization states.

Scientific Achievement

A transient metastable state with zero polarization was dynamically stabilized in Sn2P2S6 leading to pronounced history-dependent mem-capacitance.

Significance and Impact

Findings provide a path to tunable electronic elements far beyond binary high-density computing devices and  neuromorphic circuits based on the dynamic properties of the energy well consisting of three minima that can be stabilized dynamically.

Research Details

Multivariate nanoscale scanning probe microscopy was used to detect polar and capacitive states induced by dynamic electric fields in ferroelectric Sn2P2S6.

Theoretical modeling confirmed that observed phenomena emanate from dynamic stabilization of three polarization states instead of only two states common in ferroelectrics.


S.M. Neumayer, et al,, Advanced Materials, 2211194 (2023).


Work conducted at the Center for Nanophase Material Sciences.