Ferroelectric domain scaling and electronic properties in ultrathin BiFeO3 films on vicinal substrates
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(2010)cite arxiv:1010.0604Comment: 15 pages, 6 figures.

We report electrically switchable polarization and ferroelectric domain scaling over a thickness range of 5-100 nm in BiFeO3 films deposited on 110 vicinal substrates. The BiFeO3 films of variable thickness were deposited with SrRuO3 bottom layer using pulsed laser deposition technique. These films have fractal domain patterns and the domain width scales closely with the square root of film thickness, in accordance with the Landau-Lifschitz-Kittel (LLK) law. The Switching Spectroscopy Piezo-response Force Microscopy provides clear evidence for the ferroelectric switching behavior in all the films. Using Quasi-particle Self-consistent GW (QPGW) approximation we have investigated physical parameters relevant for direct tunneling behavior, namely the effective mass and effective barrier height of electrons. For rhombohedral BFO, we report a large effective barrier height value of 3.6 eV, which is in reasonable agreement with nanoscale transport measurements. QPGW investigations into the tetragonal BFO structure with P4mm symmetry revealed a barrier height of 0.38 eV, significantly lower compared to its rhombohedral counterpart. This difference has very significant implications on the transport properties of nearly tetragonal BFO phase.
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