Future Data Storage Technology Using New Ferroelectric Materials

Ferroelectric materials have been studied extensively since their discovery more than a century ago for their many uses in everything from data storage to sustainable energy sources. Ferroelectric materials can produce electric fields and have several advantages, including the ability to store data without a power source and have high write speed and storage capacity.

The figure schematically illustrates that single element bismuth monolayers contain two different types of ions which change polarity with each other as the domain walls move. Image Credit: National University of Singapore

Two-dimensional (2D) ferroelectric materials are a new form of ferroelectric materials. However, due to the scarcity of accessible materials, studies and progress in this field are limited.

Physicist from Singapore State University (NUS) recently discovered a new single element material known as bismuth like 2D black phosphorus (BP-Bi) that exhibits ferroelectric properties, adding to its existing library of 2D ferroelectric materials.

This new material challenges traditional understanding of ferroelectric materials, which are typically composed of compounds that contain opposing charges that allow the creation of an electric field. This discovery provides an answer to the basic question whether single-element substances have ferroelectric properties.

A team led by Professor Andrew Wee from the Department of Physics at NUS Faculty of Science, along with collaborators Professor Chen Lan from the Institute of Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Professor Lu Yunhao from the School of Physics at Zhejiang University, made this groundbreaking discovery. On April 5thth2023, the results of this new ferroelectric material are published in Natural.

The single element material, BP-Bi, was visualized in depth at the atomic scale by the researchers using state-of-the-art methods. They discovered a new type of ferroelectric in the BP-Bi structure using an experimental method that can be controlled by an external power source.

Experts discuss how this type of ferroelectric will influence the development of advanced data storage systems and quantum electronic devices in the future. Studying the basic physical properties of elements is now possible from a new perspective with these new single element ferroelectric materials.

As well as overturning the common sense notion that ionic polarization exists only in compounds, we believe that the single-element ferroelectricity in BP-Bi will introduce new perspectives for the study and design of new ferroelectric materials, and inspire new physics of elemental materials. in the future.

Andrew Wee, Professor, Department of Physics, National University of Singapore

Journal Reference

Gou, J., et al. (2023) Two-dimensional ferroelectricity in single-element bismuth monolayers. Natural. doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05848-5.


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