The flexoelectric effect in Al-doped hafnium oxide.

Title The flexoelectric effect in Al-doped hafnium oxide.
Authors U. Celano; M. Popovici; K. Florent; S. Lavizzari; P. Favia; K. Paulussen; H. Bender; L. di Piazza; J. Van Houdt; W. Vandervorst
Journal Nanoscale
DOI 10.1039/c8nr00618k

After the successful introduction as a replacement for the SiO2 gate dielectric in metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors, HfO2 is currently one of the most studied binary oxide systems with ubiquitous applications in nanoelectronics. For years, the interest of microelectronic downscaling has focused on tuning the dielectric constant of HfO2, particularly for monoclinic and tetragonal phases. Recently, Müller et al. showed the occurrence of ferroelectricity in orthorhombic HfO2 obtained by doping with Si, Y or Al which can alter the centrosymmetric atomic structure of the elemental binary oxide. Ferroelectric HfO2 is characterized by a permanent electric dipole that can be reversed through the application of an external voltage. As all ferroelectrics, a strong coupling between the polarization and the deformation exists, a property which has allowed the development of piezoelectric sensors and actuators. However, ferroelectrics also show a coupling between the electrical polarization and the deformation gradient, defined as flexoelectricity. In essence, the free charge inside the material redistributes in response to strain gradients, inducing a net non-zero dipole moment, eventually reaching polarization reversal by the sole application of a mechanical stress. Here we show the flexoelectric effect in Al-doped hafnium oxide, using the tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) to maximize the strain gradient at the nanometre scale. Our analysis indicates that pure mechanical force can be used for the local polarization control of sub-100 nm domains. Due to the full compatibility of HfO2 in the modern CMOS process, the discovery of flexoelectricity in hafnia paves the way for (1) nanoscopic memory bits that can be written mechanically and read electrically, (2) tip-induced reprogrammable ferroelectric-based logic and (3) electromechanical transducers.

Citation U. Celano; M. Popovici; K. Florent; S. Lavizzari; P. Favia; K. Paulussen; H. Bender; L. di Piazza; J. Van Houdt; W. Vandervorst.The flexoelectric effect in Al-doped hafnium oxide.. Nanoscale. 2018;10(18):84718476. doi:10.1039/c8nr00618k

Related Elements


See more Hafnium products. Hafnium (atomic symbol: Hf, atomic number: 72) is a Block D, Group 4, Period 6 element with an atomic weight of 178.49. Hafnium Bohr ModelThe number of electrons in each of Hafnium's shells is 2, 8, 18, 32, 10, 2 and its electron configuration is [Xe] 4f14 5d2 6s2. The hafnium atom has a radius of 159 pm and a Van der Waals radius of 212 pm. Hafnium was predicted by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869 but it was not until 1922 that it was first isolated Dirk Coster and George de Hevesy. In its elemental form, hafnium has a lustrous silvery-gray appearance. Elemental HafniumHafnium does not exist as a free element in nature. It is found in zirconium compounds such as zircon. Hafnium is often a component of superalloys and circuits used in semiconductor device fabrication. Its name is derived from the Latin word Hafnia, meaning Copenhagen, where it was discovered.

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