Date of this Version
Scanning force microscopy has been used to perform a comparative nanoscale study of domain structures and switching behavior of Pb(ZrxTi1-x)O3 (PZT) thin films integrated into heterostructures with different electrodes. The study revealed a significant difference between polarization state of as-deposited PZT films on RuO2 and Pt electrodes. The PZT/RuO2 films exhibit polydomain crystallites and show almost symmetric switching behavior, while the PZT/Pt films are mainly in a single polarity state and exhibit highly asymmetric piezoelectric hysteresis loops. Formation of unswitchable polarization within the grains of submicron size as a result of fatigue process was directly observed.