Spontaneous Polarization in an Ultrathin Improper-Ferroelectric/Dielectric Bilayer in a Capacitor Structure at Cryogenic Temperatures
Yu Yun, Pratyush Buragohain, Arashdeep Singh Thind, Yuewei Yin, Xin Li, Xuanyuan Jiang, Rohan Mishra, Alexei Gruverman, and Xiaoshan Xu
To determine the effect of depolarization and the critical thickness in improper-ferroelectric hexagonal-ferrite thin films, we investigate the polarization switching of a ferroelectric/dielectric bilayer in capacitor structures at 20 K. Experimentally, we show that the spontaneous polarization persists throughout the studied thickness range (3 to 80 unit cell), even with a thick (10-nm) dielectric layer, suggesting no practical thickness limit for applications. By fitting the effect of depolarization using the phenomenological theory, we show that the spontaneous polarization remains finite when the thickness of the ferroelectric layer approaches zero, providing a hint for the absence of critical thickness. We also find that the interfacial effects limit the multidomain formation and govern the polarization switching mechanisms.