In situ poling X-ray diffraction studies of lead-free BiFeO3–SrTiO3 ceramics

Zhilun Lu, Ge Wang, Linhao Li, Yuhe Huang, Antonio Feteira, Weichao Bao, Annette K. Kleppe, Fangfang Xu, Dawei Wang, Ian M. Reaney

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The origin of the large electrostrain in BiFeO3-BaTiO3 (BF-BT) ceramics is controversial and has been attributed to either a field-induced transition to a long-range ferroelectric (FE) state or to multi-symmetry, polar nanoregions within a pseudocubic matrix whose vectors approximately align with the direction of the applied field. The (1-x)BiFeO3-xSrTiO3 (BF-xST) solid solution is structurally and microstructurally similar to BF-BT and provides a further case study to assess the origin of electrostrain. In BF-xST, electrostrain is optimized at x = 0.4 (0.15%) which zero field, room temperature full-pattern X-ray diffraction (XRD) Rietveld refinement and scanning/transmission electron microscopy suggest is composed of 15% rhombohedral (R) cores, surrounded by 85% pseudocubic (PC) shells. In-situ poling synchrotron XRD reveals that all peaks remain singlet and exhibit no change in full width half maximum up to 100 kV cm−1, confirming the absence of long-range FE order and the retention of short-range polar order, despite the large applied field. Strain anisotropy (calculated from individual peaks) of ε220 > ε111 > ε200 and the associated strain orientation distribution however, indicate the existence of local orthorhombic (O), R and tetragonal (T) symmetries. The data therefore imply the existence under poling of multi-symmetry polar nanoregions in BF-0.4ST rather than a long FE phase, supporting the model described by Wang and co-workers (2019) for BF-BT compositions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100426
JournalMaterials Today Physics
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2021


  • BF-ST
  • Electroceramics
  • In-situ poling synchrotron XRD
  • Strain


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