Asymmetric ferroelectricity by design in atomic-layer superlattices with broken inversion symmetry

Maitri P. Warusawithana, Caitlin S. Kengle, Xun Zhan, Hao Chen, Eugene V. Colla, Michael O'Keeffe, Jian Min Zuo, Michael B. Weissman, James N. Eckstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In atomic-layer superlattices constructed using three constituent phases, CaTiO3, SrTiO3, and BaTiO3, the stacking sequence of the atomic layers is found to control the symmetry of the high-temperature dielectric response. In such a superlattice when a nanostructured asymmetric strain is programmed into the lattice via the stacking order, the natural symmetry at high temperatures is removed and a polarized sample is obtained in which the polarization increases as the temperature is lowered. In contrast to a ferroelectric characterized by a bistable ground state with two equal and opposite electronic polarizations, our experiments show evidence of asymmetric ferroelectric correlations that set in when such a sample becomes hysteretic below a temperature Tx, with two unequal polarization states. We further show that both the magnitude and direction of this ferroelectric asymmetry can be controlled by the engineered atomic-layer stacking order and periodicity of the superlattice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085103
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 15 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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