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Probing the piezoelectricity and ferroelectricity of thin film devices and nanostructures quantitatively has proven to be challenging because the appropriate experimental tools have had a limited range of usefulness. We show here that the piezoelectric and ferroelectric properties of epitaxial thin films can be measured quantitatively using time-resolved synchrotron x-ray microdiffraction. Microdiffraction combines structural specificity with the appropriate spatial resolution and ability to probe structures with electrical contacts. Our measurements of piezoelectric coefficients and coercive electric fields for Pb(Zr,Ti)O3 capacitors using this approach are in excellent quantitative agreement with results obtained electrically and mechanically. The time and spatial resolution of microdiffraction probes are well-defined and decoupled from electrical and mechanical resonances of the ferroelectric capacitor.
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Keywords: Ferroelectric thin films; piezoelectricity; x-ray diffraction; x-ray microscopy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, U.S.A.

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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