The evolution of domain structure with external stress in a free-standing PbTiO3 ferroelectric thin film of ˜100nm in thickness is observed by in-situ TEM technique. The thin film is composed of granular grains of ˜100nm in diameter, most of them appear to be single-domained whereas others are multi-domained showing domains of different sizes(5˜20nm). For some single-domained grains new domains appear during tension. For multi-domained grains, rearrangement of domain walls and coarsening of domains have been observed during tension. In many cases the domain walls disappear under high stress, i.e., a multi-domained grain changes into a single-domained grain. However, it is also observed that a large portion of single-domained grains appear not to respond to external stress. The dynamic behavior of domain walls in very thin ferroelectric thin films may help to understand the switching of these very thin films.
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