Date of this Version
JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS 116, 066819 (2014); doi: 10.1063/1.4891396
We report a piezo-response force microscopy study of the effect of thermal annealing on ferroelectric domain structures in 6 to 20 monolayer (11 to 36 nm) polycrystalline poly(vinylidene-fluoridetrifluorethylene) thin films prepared using the Langmuir-Blodgett approach. Stripe-shape domains have been created at room temperature and subjected to thermal annealing at progressively higher temperatures up to the ferroelectric Curie temperature TC of approximately 110 °C. The static configuration of the domain walls exhibits no appreciable temperature dependence after thermal annealing, with the domain-wall roughness exponent ζ ranging from 0.4 to 0.5. Above 80 °C, we observed spontaneous polarization reversal at randomly scattered local sites in both polarization states. The number of domain nucleation centers increases rapidly as a function of temperature. We compared the thermally driven domain formation in ferroelectric polymers with those observed in ferroelectric oxides and attributed the difference to the distinct mechanisms for domain formation in these two systems.