PerspectiveFERROELECTRICS

Two-dimensional ferroelectricity by design

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Science  25 Jun 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6549, pp. 1389-1390
DOI: 10.1126/science.abi7296

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Summary

The discovery of ferroelectricity marks its 100th anniversary this year (1), and this phenomenon continues to enrich our understanding of many fields of physics and material science, as well as creating subfields on its own. All of the ferroelectrics discovered have been limited to those exhibiting a polar space group of the bulk crystal that supports two or more topologically equivalent variants with different orientations of electric polarization. On pages 1458 and 1462 of this issue, Yasuda et al. (2) and Vizner Stern et al. (3), respectively, show that ferroelectricity can be engineered by artificially stacking a nonpolar in bulk, two-dimensional (2D) material, boron nitride (BN). A relatively weak van der Waals (vdW) coupling between the adjacent BN monolayers allows their parallel alignment in a metastable non-centrosymmetric coordination supporting 2D ferroelectricity with an out-of-plane electric polarization. These findings open opportunities to design 2D ferroelectrics out of parent nonpolar compounds.

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