Date of this Version
APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS 105, 182903 (2014).
Switching characteristics of vinylidene fluoride oligomer thin films with molecular chains aligned normal to the substrate and exhibiting a preferential in-plane polarization have been investigated using coplanar geometry of inter-digital electrodes via high-resolution piezoresponse force microscopy. It has been shown that in-plane switching proceeds via non-180 rotation of dipoles mediated by non-stochastic nucleation, expansion, and coalescence of domains. Asgrown multidomain configuration is found to be strongly pinned aided by charged domain walls, and the electrically induced (in-plane) mono-domain states relax to the as-grown state. The observed coercive field (approximately 0.6 MV/m) is two to three orders of magnitude smaller than that for the oligomer films with out-of-plane polarization. It is suggested that the low steric hindrance to the rotation of molecular dipoles gives rise to the observed low coercive field.