Thickness effect on the dielectric, ferroelectric, and piezoelectric properties of ferroelectric lead zirconate titanate thin films

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Paula Vilarinho
Andrei Kholkin
Ednan Joanni
Javier Cruz
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Lead zirconate titanate (PbZr0.52Ti0.48O3−PZT) thin films with different thicknesses were deposited on Pt(111)/Ti/SiO2/Si substrates by a sol-gel method. Single perovskite phase with (111)-texture was obtained in the thinnest films, whereas with the increase in thickness the films changed to a highly (100)-oriented state. An increase in the mean grain size as the film thickness increased was also observed. Dielectric, ferroelectric, and piezoelectric properties were analyzed as a function of the film thickness and explained based on film orientation, grain size, domain structure, domain wall motion, and nonswitching interface layers. Both serial and parallel capacitor models were used to analyze the influence of the nonswitching interface layer in the dielectric properties and the effect of substrate clamping in the microscopic piezoelectric response as the film thickness decreased. The scanning force microscopy technique was used to study the effect of thickness on the microscopic piezoresponse. Significant differences between the macroscopic and microscopic electrical properties of the films were observed. Those differences can be assigned to changes in the nonswitching film-electrode layer and domain structure.