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Scanning Probe Microscopy and Electrical Transport Studies of Ferroelectric Thin Films and 2D van der Waals Materials

Zhiyong Xiao, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


In this dissertation, I present the scanning microscopy and electrical transport studies of ferroelectric thin films and ferroic/2D van der Waals heterostructures. Based on the conducting probe atomic force microscopy and piezo-response force microscopy (PFM) studies of the static and dynamic behavior of ferroelectric domain walls (DW), we found that the ferroelectric polymer poly(vinylidene-fluoride-trifluorethylene) P(VDF-TrFE) is composed of two-dimensional (2D) ferroelectric monolayers (MLs) that are weakly coupled to each other. We also observed polarization asymmetry in epitaxial thin films of ferroelectric Pb(Zr,Ti)O3, which is attributed to the screening properties of the underlying conducting oxide. PFM studies also reveal ferroelectric relaxor-type behavior in ultrathin Sr(Zr,Ti)O3 films epitaxially deposited on Ge. We exploited scanning-probe-controlled domain patterning in a P(VDF-TrFE) top layer to induce nonvolatile modulation of the conduction characteristic of ML molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) between a transistor and a junction state. In the presence of a DW, MoS2 exhibits rectified Ids-Vds (IV) characteristics that are well described by the thermionic emission model. This approach can be applied to a wide range of van der Waals materials to design various functional homojunctions and nanostructures. We also studied the interfacial charge transfer effect between graphene and magnetoelectric Cr2O3 via electrostatic force microscopy and Kelvin probe force microscopy, which reveal p-type doping with up to 150 meV shift of the Fermi level. The graphene/Cr2O3 heterostructure is promising for developing magnetoelectric graphene transistors for spintronic applications.

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Recommended Citation

Xiao, Zhiyong, "Scanning Probe Microscopy and Electrical Transport Studies of Ferroelectric Thin Films and 2D van der Waals Materials" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10683379.