Ba2CuWO6 (BCW) was first synthesized in the mid 1960s, and it was predicted to be a ferroelectric material with a very high Curie temperature of 1200 °C [N. Venevtsev and A.G. Kapyshev: New ferroelectrics. Proc. Int. Meet. Ferroelectr.1, 261 (1966)]. Since then, crystallographic studies were performed on the compound with the result that its crystal structure is centrosymmetric. Thus for principal reason, BCW cannot be ferroelectric. That obvious contradiction was examined in this study. Disk-shaped ceramic samples of BCW and Ba2Cu0.5Zn0.5WO6 (BCZW) were prepared. Because of the low electrical resistivity of the ceramics, it was not possible to perform a typical polariszation hysteresis loop for characterization of ferroelectric properties. Scanning electron microscopy investigations strongly suggest that the reason for the conductivity is found in the impurities/precipitations within the microstructure of the samples. With atomic force microscopy (AFM) in piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) mode, it is possible to characterize local piezoelectricity by imaging the ferroelectric domains. Neither BCW nor BCZW showed any domain structure. Nevertheless, when local electric fields were applied to the surfaces of the ceramics topographic displacements, imaged with AFM, and surface charges, imaged with Kelvin probe force microscopy (KFM) and PFM, were measured and remained stable on the surface for the time of the experiment. Therefore BCW and BCZW are considered to be electrets and possibly relaxor ferroelectrics.
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