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Nanoindentation of the a and c domains in a tetragonal BaTiO3 single crystal
Can we map the eastic modulus of a and c domians? Can we mechanically switch the domains and let them function as nanoactuators and sensors? In our recent paper in Journal of Applied Physics, 102, 083507, we report nanoindentation of the a and c domains in a tetragonal BaTiO3 single crystal. Nanoindentation in conjunction with piezoresponse force microscopy was used to study domain switching and to measure the mechanical properties of individual ferroelectric domains in a tetragonal BaTiO3 single crystal. It was found that nanoindentation has induced local domain switching; the a and c domains of BaTiO3 have different elastic moduli but similar hardness. Nanoindentation modulus mapping on the a and c domains further confirmed such difference in elasticity. Finite element modeling was used to simulate the von Mises stress and plastic strain profiles of the indentations on both a and c domains, which introduces a much higher stress level than the critical value for domain nucleation.