J. Ventura, M.C. Polo, C. Ferrater, S. Hernández, J. Sancho-Parramón, L. E. Coy, L. Rodríguez, A. Canillas, L. Fábrega, M. Varela
The isovalent susbstitution of Ti4+ by Zr4+ in BaZrxTi1−xO3 modifies the dielectric character of ferroelectric BaTiO3 yielding different behaviours such as relaxor, polar cluster, etc. The dynamic coupling between BaTiO3 polar nanoregions and BaZrO3 nonpolar ones as well as microstrain between them are thought to be behind such a rich phase diagram. However, these short-range compositonal variations are elusive to detect and this topic is thus rarely addressed. We have grown epitaxial thin films of BaZrxTi1−xO3 on (0 0 1)-oriented SrTiO3 substrates by pulsed laser deposition sweeping the entire composition range between BaTiO3 and BaZrO3 in increments of 0.1 in x. Several characterization techniques (AFM, TEM, XRD, Raman spectroscopy) were used for this research in order to understand the morphological and structural properties of the deposited films. Ellipsometric measurements allowed the calculation of the band gap energy of the films. This work demonstrates the existence of a heterogeneous distribution in the substitution of titanium by zirconium yielding relaxor and polar cluster nanoregions.