Piezoresponse force microscopy characterization of rare-earth doped BiFeO3 thin films grown by the soft chemical method
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The multiferroic behavior with ion modification using rare-earth cations on crystal structures, along with the insulating properties of BiFeO3 (BFO) thin films was investigated using piezoresponse force microscopy. Rare-earth-substituted BFO films with chemical compositions of (Bi 1.00-xRExFe1.00O3 (x=0; 0.15), RE=La and Nd were fabricated on Pt (111)/Ti/SiO2/Si substrates using a chemical solution deposition technique. A crystalline phase of tetragonal BFO was obtained by heat treatment in ambient atmosphere at 500 °C for 2 h. Ion modification using La3+ and Nd3+ cations lowered the leakage current density of the BFO films at room temperature from approximately 10-6 down to 10-8 A/cm2. The observed improved magnetism of the Nd3+ substituted BFO thin films can be related to the plate-like morphology in a nanometer scale. We observed that various types of domain behavior such as 71° and 180° domain switching, and pinned domain formation occurred. The maximum magnetoelectric coefficient in the longitudinal direction was close to 12 V/cm Oe. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and Techna Group S.r.l.
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