Flexoelectricity has garnered much attention owing to its ability to bring electromechanical functionality to nonpiezoelectric materials and its nanoscale significance. In order to move towards a more complete understanding of this phenomenon and improve the efficacy of flexoelectric-based devices, it is necessary to quantify microstructural contributions to flexoelectricity. Here we directly measure the flexoelectric response of bulk centrosymmetric LaAlO3 crystals with different twin-boundary microstructures. We show that twin-boundary flexoelectric contributions are comparable to intrinsic contributions at room temperature and enhance the flexoelectric response by ∼4× at elevated temperatures. Additionally, we observe time-dependent and nonlinear flexoelectric responses associated with strain-gradient-induced twin-boundary polarization. These results are explained by considering the interplay between twin-boundary orientation, beam-bending strain fields, and pinning site interactions, and directly demonstrate that macroscopic flexoelectric responses are very sensitive to structural defects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)