Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Published in Nano Letters 11:5 (2011), pp. 1970–1975; doi: 10.1021/nl200221z Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society. Used by permission.


We have demonstrated an effective electrical control of polarization in the individual crystalline nanomesas of the ferroelectric polymer, poly(vinylidene fluoride)-trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE) and its relation to the polymer structure. The mechanism of polarization reversal has been investigated via sub-10 nm real space imaging of domain pattern evolution under an applied electric field. The domain switching behavior revealed in PVDF-TrFE nanomesas is drastically different from that observed in inorganic solid-state crystalline ferroelectrics. The nanoscale features of the switching process include remote domain nucleation and spatially nonuniform wall velocity. Local switching spectroscopy and domain dynamics studies relate the observed switching features to a random- bond type disorder associated with defects in conformation and molecular packing.

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