Flexoelectric properties of ferroelectrics and the nanoindentation size-effect Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent works have established the critical role of flexoelectricity in a variety of size-dependent physical phenomena related to ferroelectrics including giant piezoelectricity at the nanoscale, dead-layer effect in nanocapacitors, dielectric properties of nanostructures among others. Flexoelectricity couples strain gradients to polarization in both ordinary and piezoelectric dielectrics. Relatively few experimental works exist that have determined flexoelectric properties and they all generally involve some sort of bending tests on micro-specimens. In this work, we present a straightforward method based on nanoindentation that allows the evaluation of flexoelectric properties in a facile manner. The key contribution is the development of an analytical model that, in conjunction with indentation load-displacement data, allows an estimate of the flexoelectric constants. In particular, we confirm the experimental results of other groups on BaTiO3 which differ by three orders of magnitude from atomistic predictions. Our analytical model predicts (duly confirmed by our experiments) a strong indentation size-effect due to flexoelectricity. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Gharbi, M., Sun, Z. H., Sharma, P., White, K., & El-Borgi, S.

citation count

  • 49

complete list of authors

  • Gharbi, M||Sun, ZH||Sharma, P||White, K||El-Borgi, S

publication date

  • January 2011