Observation of Quasi-Two-Dimensional Polar Domains and Ferroelastic Switching in a Metal, Ca3Ru2O7

Shiming Lei, Mingqiang Gu, Danilo Puggioni, Greg Stone, Jin Peng, Jianjian Ge, Yu Wang, Baoming Wang, Yakun Yuan, Ke Wang, Zhiqiang Mao, James M. Rondinelli, Venkatraman Gopalan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Polar domains arise in insulating ferroelectrics when free carriers are unable to fully screen surface-bound charges. Recently discovered binary and ternary polar metals exhibit broken inversion symmetry coexisting with free electrons that might be expected to suppress the electrostatic driving force for domain formation. Contrary to this expectation, we report the first direct observation of polar domains in single crystals of the polar metal Ca3Ru2O7. By a combination of mesoscale optical second-harmonic imaging and atomic-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy, the polar domains are found to possess a quasi-two-dimensional slab geometry with a lateral size of ∼100 μm and thickness of ∼10 nm. Electronic structure calculations show that the coexistence of electronic and parity-lifting orders arise from anharmonic lattice interactions, which support 90° and 180° polar domains in a metal. Using in situ transmission electron microscopy, we also demonstrate a strain-tuning route to achieve ferroelastic switching of polar metal domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3088-3095
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 9 2018


  • Domains
  • domain walls
  • ferroelastic switching
  • in situ TEM
  • polar metal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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