Bistability of ferroelectric domain walls: Morphotropic boundary and strain effects
The internal structure of neutral 180 degrees domain walls in perovskite-type ferroelectrics is studied in terms of Landau theory taking into account electromechanical coupling. The study is focused on the wall bistability, a factor of potential interest for information storage. A strong impact of elastic effects on the wall structure is demonstrated. It is shown that the conclusion derived earlier by Houchmandzadeh et al. [J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 3, 5163 (1991)], neglecting the electrostictive coupling, that all the domain walls near the boundary between two ordered phases become bistable may not hold due to the elastic effects. Criteria for domain-wall bistability are formulated in terms of the materials thermodynamic properties and the wall orientation. The obtained general results are applied to the analysis of bistability of 180 degrees domain walls in Pb(Zr-c, Ti1-c)O-3 near the tetragonal-rhombohedral morphotropic boundary. It is shown that, on the tetragonal side, the electrostrictive interaction suppresses the wall bistability that was predicted in terms of the theory neglecting the elastic effects. On the rhombohedral side, the domain walls are found bistable or not depending on the anisotropy of the correlation energy, the information on which is not presently available. It is also shown that, in the rhombohedral phase, the anisotropy of the correlation energy results in appearance of additional polarization component in the plane of the wall.