Intrinsic stability of ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties of epitaxial PbZr0.45Ti0.55O3 thin films on silicon in relation to grain tilt

Evert P Houwman, Minh D Nguyen, Matthijn Dekkers and Guus Rijnders
Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. 14 (2013) 045006

Piezoelectric thin films of PbZr0.45Ti0.55O3 were grown on Si substrates in four different ways, resulting in different crystalline structures, as determined by x-ray analysis. The crystalline structures were different in the spread in tilt angle and the in-plane alignment of the crystal planes between different grains. It is found that the deviations of the ferroelectric polarization loop from that of the ideal rectangular loop (reduction of the remanent polarization with respect to the saturation polarization, dielectric constant of the film, slanting of the loop, coercive field value) all scale with the average tilt angle. A model is derived based on the assumption that the tilted grain boundaries between grains affect the film properties locally. This model describes the observed trends. The effective piezoelectric coefficient d33,eff shows also a weak dependence on the average tilt angle for films grown in a single layer, whereas it is strongly reduced for the films deposited in multiple layers. The least affected properties are obtained for the most epitaxial films, i.e. grown on a SrTiO3 epitaxial seed layer, by pulsed laser deposition. These films are intrinsically stable and do not require poling to acquire these stable properties.

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