Light-Induced Transitions of Polar State and Domain Morphology in Photo-Ferroelectric Nanoparticles
preprintposted on 2023-03-11, 17:00 authored by Eugene A. Eliseev, Anna N. Morozovska, Yulian M. Vysochanskii, Lesya P. Yurchenko, Venkatraman Gopalan, Long-Qing Chen
Using the Landau-Ginzburg-Devonshire approach, we study light-induced phase transitions, accompanied by transformations of polar state and domain morphology in photo-ferroelectric nanoparticles (NPs). Due to the light-induced increase of the free carrier density near the NP surface, the light exposure induces phase transitions from the nonpolar paraelectric to the polar ferroelectric phase, causes the changes of domain morphology in the ferroelectric phase, and can control the phase diagram of the free and stressed NPs. Visible light exposure induces the appearance and vanishing of striped, labyrinthine or curled domains in the NPs of uniaxial photo-ferroelectric Sn2P2S6. We reveal that the light exposure can change the polarization switching scenario and hysteresis loop shape from paraelectric curves to double, pinched and single loops, as well as it can shift the position of the morphological phase transitions and tricritical point, where the energy barrier of polarization switching vanishes, to the working (e.g., room) temperature. When exposed to light, an ensemble of non-interacting photo-ferroelectric NPs can reveal superparaelectric-like features in the tricritical point, such as strongly frequency-dependent giant piezoelectric and dielectric responses, which can be important for advanced piezoelectric applications.