We investigate ferroelectric domain structure and piezoelectric response under variable mechanical compressive stress in Pb(Zr0.2TiO0.8)O3 (PZT) thin films using high-resolution piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) and an in situ sample bending stage. Measurements reveal a drastic change in the ferroelectric domain structure which is presented along with details of the mediating switching process involving domain wall motion, nucleation, and domain wall roughening under an applied external mechanical stimulus. Furthermore, local PFM hysteresis loops reveal significant changes in the observed coercive biases under applied stress. The PFM hysteresis loops become strongly imprinted under increasing applied compressive stress.
- scanning probe microscopy