The crystal structure of BaTiO3 thin films grown by pulsed laser deposition on MgO substrates was found to be strongly influenced by the oxygen pressure used during growth. Low pressures produced epitaxial films with highly strained out-of-plane lattice parameter c compared to in-plane parameter a, while increasing oxygen pressure resulted in the ratio c/a < 1 with a concomitant increase in polycrystallinity. The dielectric properties varied with changing crystal structure reaching a maximum permittivity value in films near the minimum point of tetragonal distortion and exhibiting relaxor-like behavior in c/a < 1 films close to this point. Hysteresis observed in dielectric tuning loops pointed to the presence of the ferroelectric phase in all films at room temperature. As a result of high electric field poling treatment at 300 °C, the tunability generally increased and initially symmetric tuning curves became asymmetric. The tuning curve in c/a < 1 samples became nearly linear, supporting the premise of polarization reorientation with changing deposition condition. Phase transitions to the paraelectric phase were highly suppressed and shifted upwards in temperature from the bulk transition temperature of 130 to ∼250 °C in strongly c-oriented films. Moderate shifts in oxygen working pressure were demonstrated to produce films with very different properties thereby offering convenient means for strain engineering and control of preferred crystal orientation and polarization direction of highly oriented BTO films.
- phase transition
- thin films