Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Published in Appl. Phys. Lett. 71 (24), 15 December 1997 0003-6951/97/71(24)/3492/3/$10.00. Copyright © 1997 American Institute of Physics. Used by permission.


We report results on the direct observation of the microscopic origins of backswitching in ferroelectric thin films. The piezoelectric response generated in the film by a biased atomic force microscope tip was used to obtain static and dynamic piezoelectric images of individual grains in a polycrystalline material. We demonstrate that polarization reversal occurs under no external field (i.e., loss of remanent polarization) via a dispersive continuous-time random walk process, identified by a stretched exponential decay of the remanent polarization.

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