Polarization reversal in ferroelectric nanomesas of polyvinylidene fluoride with trifluoroethylene has been probed by ultrahigh vacuum piezoresponse force microscopy in a wide temperature range from 89 to 326 K. In dramatic contrast to the macroscopic data, the piezoresponse force microscopy local switching was nonthermally activated and, at the same time, occurring at electric fields significantly lower than the intrinsic switching threshold. A “cold-field” defect-mediated extrinsic switching is shown to be an adequate scenario describing this peculiar switching behavior. The extrinsic character of the observed polarization reversal suggests that there is no fundamental bar for lowering the coercive field in ferroelectric polymer nanostructures, which is of importance for their applications in functional electronics.
- Received 7 July 2011
- Published 11 January 2012
© 2012 American Physical Society