X-ray diffraction studies of stripelike ferroelectric domains in thin films of BiFeO3

J. C.T. Lee, A. R. Damodaran, R. Ramesh, L. W. Martin, P. Abbamonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have used x-ray diffraction to study the structure of strained, epitaxial BiFeO3 (BFO) films, which exhibit ordered arrays of stripelike ferroelectric domains, in which the polarization vector P alternates by either 109 or 71. Diffraction maps exhibit an intricate satellite structure that arises from coherent, gratinglike diffraction from the domain structure. In the case of the 109 arrays, the domain structure was found to exert a strain modulation on the DyScO3 substrate, with the same periodicity, indicating that domains in BFO can have an influence on the substrate structure. In the case of the 71 arrays, in which there is no contrast between neighboring domains and coherent scattering is not expected, weak scattering is nonetheless observed, which we interpret as evidence for previously unobserved, internal strains in these domain walls. To understand the x-ray data, we introduce a simple, single-scattering model that incorporates Gaussian disorder and fits the diffraction maps, providing domain periods and surface puckering angles that are in good agreement with atomic force microscopy and piezoresponse force microscopy measurements. Our study demonstrates a simple, computationally inexpensive technique for semiquantitatively interpreting coherent domain scattering in ferroelectric films, and suggests that tuning domain structures is a potential route to engineering the near-surface properties of perovskite oxides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number214104
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jun 6 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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