Anomalously Abrupt Switching of Wurtzite-Structured Ferroelectrics: Simultaneous Non-Linear Nucleation and Growth Model

Keisuke Yazawa, John Hayden, Jon-Paul Maria, Wanlin Zhu, Susan Trolier-McKinstry, Andriy Zakutayev, Geoff Brennecka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus Citations


Ferroelectric polarization switching is one common example of a process that occurs via nucleation and growth, and understanding switching kinetics is crucial for applications such as ferroelectric memory. Here we describe and interpret anomalous switching dynamics in the wurtzite-structured nitride thin film ferroelectrics Al0.7Sc0.3N and Al0.94B0.06N using a general model that can be directly applied to other abrupt transitions that proceed via nucleation and growth. When substantial growth and impingement occur while nucleation rate is increasing, such as in these wurtzite-structured ferroelectrics under high electric fields, abrupt polarization reversal leads to very large Avrami coefficients (e.g., n = 11), inspiring an extension of the KAI (Kolmogorov-Avrami-Ishibashi) model. We apply this extended model to two related but distinct scenarios that crossover between (typical) behavior described by sequential nucleation and growth and a more abrupt transition arising from significant growth prior to peak nucleation rate. This work therefore provides a more complete description of general nucleation and growth kinetics applicable to any system while specifically addressing the anomalously abrupt polarization reversal behavior in new wurtzite-structured ferroelectrics.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2936-2944
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Horizons
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-84750


  • ferroelectric switching
  • nitride
  • nucleation and growth
  • phase transformation
  • wurtzite


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