Ramesh joking observed that, "Inducing materials into such a schizophrenic state can be the key to obtaining exotic behavior."
Ramesh and his group are now testing their strain-driven piezoelectric technique on other perovskites. They are also exploring the use of epitaxial strain to generate other phenomena such as magnetoresistance. Noting that the reversible phase changes in the bismuth ferrite films are accompanied by changes of a few nanometers in the height of the sample surface - a substantial change on this scale - Ramesh and his colleagues believe their results make bismuth ferrite an attractive candidate for data storage applications.
The bismuth ferrite films and morphotropic phase boundaries created by epitaxial strain were characterized using TEAM 0.5, a unique transmission electron microscope created as part of the larger TEAM project. The acronym stands for Transmission Electron Aberration-corrected Microscope. TEAM 0.5 is capable of producing images with half angstrom resolution, which is less than the diameter of a single hydrogen atom. TEAM 0.5 and its successor, TEAM 1.0,are located at Berkeley Lab's National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) - a DOE national user facility and the country's premier center for electron microscopy and microcharacterization.
"The resolution of TEAM 0.5, which is currently the highest in the world for an electron microscope, made it possible for us to image the atomic structure of both the tetragonal and rhombohedral phases and their interfaces," says Ramesh.
|Contact: Lynn Yarris|
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory