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Local properties of the surface layer(s) of BiFeO3 single crystals

AuthorsDomingo, Neus ; Narváez, Jackeline ; Alexe, Marin; Catalán, Gustau
Issue Date2013
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics
CitationJournal of Applied Physics 113(18): 187220 (2013)
AbstractThe surface of BiFeO3 single crystals has been characterized at the local level using several AFM-based techniques. We have observed the presence of two different epilayers showing electrical and mechanical properties different from those of the bulk: a ferroelectrically dead outer skin of 5 nm sitting upon a subsurface layer that displays an extremely fine pattern of hierarchical self-ordered nanodomains. Based on the size of the nanodomains and applying a Kittel-like analysis, we argue that the nanotwinned region should be confined in a layer less than a micron deep. The superficial phase transition at T 275 °C is restricted to the outer skin layer (the dead layer), while the nanotwinned layer is insensitive to this transition. In view of the photovoltaic properties and spin-dependent transport of domain walls in BiFeO3, the existence of nanodomains (and thus a high density of domain walls) in bulk single crystals is likely to be relevant for understanding their functional properties. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4801974
Identifiersdoi: 10.1063/1.4801974
issn: 0021-8979
e-issn: 1089-7550
Appears in Collections:(CIN2) Artículos
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