Upper bounds for flexoelectric coefficients in ferroelectrics
Flexoelectric effect is the response of electric polarization to the mechanical strain gradient. At the nano-scale, where large strain gradients are expected, the flexoelectric effect becomes appreciable and may substitute piezoelectric effect in centrosymmetric materials. These features make flexoelectricity of growing interest during the last decade. At the same time, the available theoretical and experimental results are rather contradictory. In particular, experimentally measured flexoelectric coefficients in some ferroelectric materials largely exceed theoretically predicted values. Here, we determine the upper limits for the magnitude of the static bulk contribution to the flexoelectric effect in ferroelectrics, the contribution which was customarily considered as the dominating one. The magnitude of the upper bounds obtained suggests that the anomalously high flexoelectric coupling documented for perovskite ceramics can hardly be attributed to a manifestation of the static bulk effect. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.