Record-high thermal stability achieved in a novel single-component all-organic ferroelectric crystal exhibiting polymorphism†
Traditionally, lead and heavy metal containing inorganic oxides dominate the area of ferroelectricity. Although, recently, lightweight non-toxic organic ferroelectrics have emerged as excellent alternatives, achieving higher temperature up to which the ferroelectric phase can persist has remained a challenge. Moreover, only a few of those are single-component molecular ferroelectrics and were discovered upon revisiting their crystal structures. Here we report a novel phenanthroimidazole derivative, which not only displays notable spontaneous and highly stable remnant polarizations with a low coercive field but also retains its ferroelectric phase up to a record-high temperature of ∼521 K. Subsequently, the crystal undergoes phase transition to form non-polar and centrosymmetric polymorphs, the first study of its kind in a single-component ferroelectric crystal. Moreover, the compound exhibits a significantly high thermal stability. Given the excellent figures-of-merit for ferroelectricity, this material is likely to find potential applications in microelectronic devices pertaining to non-volatile memory.