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Journal Article

Ferroelectric Self-Poling in GeTe Films and Crystals


Kriegner,  Dominik
Inorganic Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Kriegner, D., Springholz, G., Richter, C., Filet, N., Müller, E., Capron, M., et al. (2019). Ferroelectric Self-Poling in GeTe Films and Crystals. Crystals, 9(7): 335, pp. 1-15. doi:10.3390/cryst9070335.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-ABC9-9
Ferroelectric materials are used in actuators or sensors because of their non-volatile macroscopic electric polarization. GeTe is the simplest known diatomic ferroelectric endowed with exceedingly complex physics related to its crystalline, amorphous, thermoelectric, and-fairly recently discovered-topological properties, making the material potentially interesting for spintronics applications. Typically, ferroelectric materials possess random oriented domains that need poling to achieve macroscopic polarization. By using X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy complemented with anomalous diffraction and piezo-response force microscopy, we investigated the bulk ferroelectric structure of GeTe crystals and thin films. Both feature multi-domain structures in the form of oblique domains for films and domain colonies inside crystals. Despite these multi-domain structures which are expected to randomize the polarization direction, our experimental results show that at room temperature there is a preferential ferroelectric order remarkably consistent with theoretical predictions from ideal GeTe crystals. This robust self-poled state has high piezoelectricity and additional poling reveals persistent memory effects.