Domain topology and domain switching kinetics in a hybrid improper ferroelectric

F. T. Huang, F. Xue, B. Gao, L. H. Wang, X. Luo, W. Cai, X. Z. Lu, J. M. Rondinelli, L. Q. Chen, S. W. Cheong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Charged polar interfaces such as charged ferroelectric walls or heterostructured interfaces of ZnO/(Zn,Mg)O and LaAlO3/SrTiO3, across which the normal component of electric polarization changes suddenly, can host large two-dimensional conduction. Charged ferroelectric walls, which are energetically unfavourable in general, were found to be mysteriously abundant in hybrid improper ferroelectric (Ca,Sr) 3 Ti2O7 crystals. From the exploration of antiphase boundaries in bilayer-perovskites, here we discover that each of four polarization-direction states is degenerate with two antiphase domains, and these eight structural variants form a Z4 × Z2 domain structure with Z 3 vortices and five distinct types of domain walls, whose topology is directly relevant to the presence of abundant charged walls. We also discover a zipper-like nature of antiphase boundaries, which are the reversible creation/annihilation centres of pairs of two types of ferroelectric walls (and also Z3-vortex pairs) in 90° and 180° polarization switching. Our results demonstrate the unexpectedly rich nature of hybrid improper ferroelectricity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11602
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - May 24 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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