Dissociation and adsorption of water on ferroelectric oxide surfaces play important role in the processes of screening and switching dynamics of ferroelectric polarization, as well as in catalytic processes which can be additionally coupled with light, temperature or vibration stimuli. In this work, we present XPS study of ferroelectric BaTiO3 thin films and determine the entanglement between surface chemistry, polarization direction and stability, by observing changes upon time exposure to environmental conditions, heating in O2 atmosphere and irradiation in vacuum.
We devote special attention to Ba 3d spectral region and identify two different oxidation states of O atoms in the compounds of Ba. While this second specie was generally attributed to Ba in surface compounds where it has different oxygen coordination than in the bulk, based on the XPS results of oxygen annealed thin films, we demonstrate that this so far neglected component, corresponds to barium peroxide (BaO2) and identify it as important active specie for the study of screening mechanisms closely related with catalytic activity present in this ferroelectric material. Finally, we report on chemically assisted polarization switching in thin films induced by heating in vacuum or exposure to X-Ray radiation due to the formation of positive surface electric field created by oxygen or electron vacancies, respectively.
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Oxidation processes at the surface of BaTiO3 thin films under environmental conditions
I. Spasojević, G. Sautier, J. Caicedo, A. Verdaguer, N. Domingo
Applied Surface Science, 2021, 150288, ISSN 0169-4332,