Relaxor ferroelectric perovskites have experienced a revival of interest in recent years accompanying the deeply exploration of the fine local structure of polar nanoregions, which are thought to be the structure root for unique electrical properties. Interestingly, a new type of low-tolerance relaxor ferroelectric, which exhibits both cation displacement and large oxygen octahedral tilt, exhibiting anomalous microdomains were found in NaNbO3-based lead-free perovskites, breaking through the limits of the relaxor ferroelectric models proposed from classical relaxors. Atomic-scale annular bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy images indicate that the microdomains are formed by long-range ordered oxygen octahedral tilt. At the same time, substructure of randomly embedded nanoregions with inhomogeneous polarization vectors can be mapped, being the main reason for relaxor behavior. Based on this special ferroelectric-improper ferroelastic state, delayed polarization saturation can be obtained under strong electric field, providing an opportunity for generating excellent energy storage properties. The results found in this work not only open up a new kind of relaxor ferroelectrics but also will lead to the reconstruction of relaxor models and theories built for more than half a century.

Large (anti)ferrodistortive NaNbO3-based lead-free relaxors: Polar nanoregions embedded in ordered oxygen octahedral tilt matrix

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2022.09.003