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Research Highlight

Tunable ferroelectric phenomena via surface control

Nanoscale piezoresponse imaging and hysteresis loops in contrasting partial pressures of oxygen reveal an environmentally induced antiferroelectric-to-ferroelectric phase transition

Scientific Achievement

Ferroelectric phenomena in hafnia, Hf0.5Zr0.5O2, emerged due to the interplay between ferroelectric and structural instabilities coupled with non-local screening mediated by the finite density of states at surfaces and internal interfaces.

Significance and Impact

Findings provide a pathway for predictive modeling and device engineering of hafnia, which is urgently needed given the importance of this material in the semiconductor industry.

Research Details

  • Environmental piezoresponse force microscopy was used to trigger transitions between ferroelectric and antiferroelectric phases in Hf0.5Zr0.5O2.
  • Theoretical modeling confirmed that the observed behavior emanated from coupled antiferroelectric bulk and surface electrochemical phenomena.


K.P. Kelley, et al., Nature Materials 22, 1144-1151 (2023)
DOI: 10.1038/s41563-023-01619-9

Work conducted at the Center For Nanophase Materials Sciences