High-Quality Sputtered BiFeO3for Ultrathin Epitaxial Films

Tomohiro Ichinose, Daisuke Miura, Hiroshi Naganuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BiFeO3 films were grown by RF magnetron sputtering with various O2 gas flow ratios and substrate temperatures. The optimal sputtering conditions for a slightly excess Bi content produced high-quality parameters: an atomically flat surface (Ra < 0.4 nm), low leakage current (Jc < 10-6 A/cm2), high ferroelectric polarization (72 μC/cm2//[001]pc), and large exchange bias (∼140 Oe). In addition to these typical characterizations, the following two advanced analyses were performed: (i) The lattice constant was identified by Bragg's diffraction specific to a space group of R3c using X-ray diffraction; it was precisely determined as an expanded a-axis (abulk = 0.568 → aepi = 0.572 nm) and a shrunk c-axis (cbulk = 1.398 → cepi = 1.373 nm). (ii) The ferroelectricity was analyzed by first-order reversal curve (FORC) diagrams, which revealed that ferroelectric switching was packed in a narrow electric field area; an internal electric field in the film body was not observed despite the fact that the BiFeO3 films were as-grown samples. A 3 nm thick BiFeO3 film with a continuous and flat surface/interface was confirmed over a wide area. The crystal symmetry might be identified as a space group of R3c in the case of the 3 nm thick film by comparing the nanobeam selected area electron diffraction patterns with the patterns based on structural calculations. The ferroelectricity might be confirmed by the piezoresponse force microscopy of a 2 nm thick BiFeO3 epitaxial film, owing to the optimal condition of low Jc and uniform ferroelectric switching properties. Furthermore, a 0.4 nm thick ultrathin BiFeO3 film was confirmed to be a continuous one-unit cell perovskite (∼0.4 nm) layer, owing to the optimal condition of low Ra. This study provides a method for investigating the crystal symmetry that affects the multiferroic properties of ultrathin films, which can be used as barrier layers in multiferroic tunnel junctions for highly functional sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4836-4848
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Electronic Materials
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 23


  • BiFeO
  • high-quality films
  • multiferroics
  • one-unit-cell
  • sputtering
  • ultrathin film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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