Tunable inversion symmetry to control indirect-to-direct band gaps transitions

Xue Zeng Lu, James M. Rondinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Electric-field tunable indirect-to-direct band gap transitions occur in thin-film silicon and transition metal dichalcogenides; however, they remain challenging to access in three-dimensional transition metal oxides. Very recently, an unusual polar-to-nonpolar phase transition under epitaxial strain was discovered in A3B2O7 hybrid improper ferroelectrics (HIFs), which supports controllable dielectric anisotropy and magnetization. Here we examine HIF (ABO3)1/(A′BO3)1 superlattices and AA′BB′O6 double perovskites and predict a competing nonpolar antiferroelectric phase, demonstrating it is hidden in hybrid improper ferroelectrics exhibiting corner-connected BO6 octahedra. Furthermore, we show the transition between the polar and nonpolar phases enables an in-plane electric field to control the indirect-to-direct band gap transition at the phase boundary in the (ABO3)1/(A′BO3)1 superlattices and AA′BB′O6 double perovskites, which may be tuned through static strain or chemical substitution. Our findings establish HIFs as a functional electronics class from which to realize direct gap materials and enables the integration of a broader palette of chemistries and compounds for linear and nonlinear optical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054409
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 17 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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