Ferroelectrics as Smart Mechanical Materials

Kumara Cordero-Edwards, Neus Domingo, Amir Abdollahi, Jordi Sort, Gustau Catalan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


 Weinheim The mechanical properties of materials are insensitive to space inversion, even when they are crystallographically asymmetric. In practice, this means that turning a piezoelectric crystal upside down or switching the polarization of a ferroelectric should not change its mechanical response. Strain gradients, however, introduce an additional source of asymmetry that has mechanical consequences. Using nanoindentation and contact-resonance force microscopy, this study demonstrates that the mechanical response to indentation of a uniaxial ferroelectric (LiNbO3) does change when its polarity is switched, and use this mechanical asymmetry both to quantify its flexoelectricity and to mechanically read the sign of its ferroelectric domains.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1702210
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2017


  • ferroelectric memories
  • ferroelectricity
  • flexoelectricity
  • mechanical properties
  • mechanical reading polarity


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