Direct and converse piezoelectric responses at the nanoscale from epitaxial BiFeO3 thin films grown by polymer assisted deposition†
We use an original water-based chemical method to grow pure epitaxial BiFeO3 (BFO) ultra-thin films with excellent piezoelectric properties. Particularly, we show that this novel chemical route produces higher natural ferroelectric domain size distribution and coercive field compared to similar BFO films grown by physical methods. Moreover, we measured the d33 piezoelectric coefficient of 60 nm thick BFO films by a direct approach, using Direct Piezoelectric Force Microscopy (DPFM). As a result, first piezo-generated charge maps of a very thin BFO layer were obtained applying this novel technology. We also performed a comparative study of the d33 coefficients between standard PFM analysis and DPFM microscopy showing similar values i.e. 17 pm V−1 and 22 pC N−1, respectively. Finally, we proved that the directionality of the piezoelectric effect in BFO ferroelectric thin films is preserved at low thickness dimensions demonstrating the potential of chemical processes for the development of low cost functional ferroelectric and piezoelectric devices.