Origins of large enhancement in electromechanical coupling for nonpolar directions in ferroelectric BaTiO<inf>3</inf>


The origins of enhanced piezoelectric coupling along nonpolar crystallographic directions in ferroelectric BaTiO3 are investigated using in situ neutron spectroscopy. It is observed that an electric field applied away from the equilibrium polarization direction causes a stiffening of the transverse acoustic (TA) phonon branch and consequently increases interaction between the TA and the transverse optic soft mode for a range of wave vectors extending from the Brillouin zone center. This provides a direct lattice dynamics mechanism for enhanced electromechanical coupling, and could act as a guide for designing improved piezoelectric materials. © 2013 American Physical Society.