Journal article

Self-polarization effect in Pb(Zr,Ti)O-3 thin films

The self-polarization effect is investigated in Pb(Zr,Ti)O-3 (PZT) thin films deposited by sol-gel and magnetron sputtering techniques. The effective piezoelectric coefficient of as-grown films, which is proportional to their initial polarization (self-polarization), is measured by a sensitive interferometric technique as a function of the annealing temperature, PZT composition, film thickness and bottom electrode material. The results indicate that the films are self-polarized by an internal bias field upon cooling through the phase transition temperature. It is suggested that a built-in field of a Schottky barrier between the PZT film and the bottom electrode is responsible for the observed effect. Self-polarization of the films is found to be very stable and in some cases to be as high as 90% of that produced by the subsequent room temperature poling. This property is very useful for piezoelectric and pyroelectric applications of PZT films since the poling procedure can be avoided. The properties of self-polarization are found to be similar for the films produced by sol-gel and sputtering techniques, suggesting that the same mechanism is operative in both cases.


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