Materials Science

Featured Ferroelectrics

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Science  05 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6043, pp. 677
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6043.677-c

Ferroelectric thin films can exhibit not only directional switching of polarization but also pyroelectric or piezoelectric effects that can be useful in micro- or nanoelectromechanical devices. However, unlike materials such as silicon, which can be readily patterned through techniques developed from chip manufacturing, the various methods for ferroelectric patterning of thin films often have limitations. Kim et al. describe a method that allows arbitrary patterning of ferroelectric films on any substrate, so long as it is undamaged by brief exposures to temperatures of 250° to 300°C. Thin films of sol-gel precursors for ferroelectrics such as lead zirconium titanate or lead titanate, on substrates such as silicon, glass, and polyimide tape, were heated for 1 min to these temperatures to remove organic molecules. Actual pattering is achieved with an atomic force microscope tip heated above ∼550°C. Feature sizes run tens of nanometers in width and several micrometers in length.

Adv. Mater. 23, 10.1002/adma.201101991 (2011).

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