Moving antiphase boundaries using an external electric field
Antiphase boundaries (APBs) are unique domain walls that may demonstrate switchable polarization in otherwise non-ferroelectric materials such as SrTiO3 and PbZrO3. The current study explores the possibility of displacing such domain walls at the nanoscale. We suggest the possibility of manipulating APBs using the inhomogeneous electric field of an Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) tip with an applied voltage placed in their proximity. The displacement is studied as a function of applied voltage, film thickness, and initial separation of the AFM tip from the APB. It is established, for example, that for films with thickness of 15 nm, an APB may be attracted under the tip with a voltage of 25 V from initial separation of 30 nm. We have also demonstrated that the displacement is appreciably retained after the voltage is removed, rendering it favorable for potential applications. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.