Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS 130, 126801 (2023). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.130.126801


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The increasing miniaturization of electronics requires a better understanding of material properties at the nanoscale. Many studies have shown that there is a ferroelectric size limit in oxides, below which the ferroelectricity will be strongly suppressed due to the depolarization field, and whether such a limit still exists in the absence of the depolarization field remains unclear. Here, by applying uniaxial strain, we obtain pure in-plane polarized ferroelectricity in ultrathin SrTiO3 membranes, providing a clean system with high tunability to explore ferroelectric size effects especially the thickness-dependent ferroelectric instability with no depolarization field. Surprisingly, the domain size, ferroelectric transition temperature, and critical strain for room-temperature ferroelectricity all exhibit significant thickness dependence. These results indicate that the stability of ferroelectricity is suppressed (enhanced) by increasing the surface or bulk ratio (strain), which can be explained by considering the thickness-dependent dipole-dipole interactions within the transverse Ising model. Our study provides new insights into ferroelectric size effects and sheds light on the applications of ferroelectric thin films in nanoelectronics.

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