We report an elastic relaxation and increase in local strain variation correlated with ferroelectric domains within epitaxial BiFeO3 thin film nanostructures fabricated by combined electron-beam and focused ion-beam nanolithography. Nano-focused x-ray diffraction microscopy provided new insights into the relationship between film strain and ferroelectric domains in nanostructures, namely: (i) an out-of-plane (C-axis) elastic relaxation of as much as -1.8 c/c in a BFO film-based nanostructure relative to the planar film lattice constant; (ii) an out-of-plane rotation trending from the center towards all released edges of the nanostructure; and (iii) an increase of inter-domain strain variation within the nanostructure of approximately 10 times the inter-domain variation found within the planar film, correlated with ferroelectric domain boundaries as confirmed by piezoresponse-force microscopy. These results indicate that the release of in-plane BFO/SRO mismatch strain in a planar film is taken up by the local ferroelectric domain structure after patterning, resulting in greatly increased mechanical strain gradients within the structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)