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Open AccessArticle

Ferroelectric Self-Poling in GeTe Films and Crystals

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, 01187 Dresden, Germany
Department of Condensed Matter Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, 121 16 Praha 2, Czech Republic
Institut für Halbleiter-und Festkörperphysik, Johannes Kepler Universität, A-4040 Linz, Austria
ESRF—The European Synchrotron, 71 Avenue des Martyrs, 38000 Grenoble, France & Leibniz-Institut für Kristallzüchtung, Max Born Str. 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
DECTRIS Ltd., 5405 Baden-Daettwil, Switzerland
Paul Scherrer Institut, Electron Microscopy Facility, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
Partnership for Soft Condensed Matter (PSCM), ESRF—The European Synchrotron, 38043 Grenoble, France
Institute of Physics, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
CEITEC—Central European Institute of Technology, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic
Photon Science Division, Paul Scherrer Institut, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Crystals 2019, 9(7), 335;
Received: 30 May 2019 / Revised: 21 June 2019 / Accepted: 24 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Novel Topological Materials)
Ferroelectric materials are used in actuators or sensors because of their non-volatile macroscopic electric polarization. GeTe is the simplest known diatomic ferroelectric endowed with exceedingly complex physics related to its crystalline, amorphous, thermoelectric, and—fairly recently discovered—topological properties, making the material potentially interesting for spintronics applications. Typically, ferroelectric materials possess random oriented domains that need poling to achieve macroscopic polarization. By using X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy complemented with anomalous diffraction and piezo-response force microscopy, we investigated the bulk ferroelectric structure of GeTe crystals and thin films. Both feature multi-domain structures in the form of oblique domains for films and domain colonies inside crystals. Despite these multi-domain structures which are expected to randomize the polarization direction, our experimental results show that at room temperature there is a preferential ferroelectric order remarkably consistent with theoretical predictions from ideal GeTe crystals. This robust self-poled state has high piezoelectricity and additional poling reveals persistent memory effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-polarization; ferroelectricity; microstructure; EXAFS; PFM; anomalous diffraction; thin films; single crystals self-polarization; ferroelectricity; microstructure; EXAFS; PFM; anomalous diffraction; thin films; single crystals
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Kriegner, D.; Springholz, G.; Richter, C.; Pilet, N.; Müller, E.; Capron, M.; Berger, H.; Holý, V.; Dil, J.H.; Krempaský, J. Ferroelectric Self-Poling in GeTe Films and Crystals. Crystals 2019, 9, 335.

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