Interferometric imaging of nonlocal electromechanical power transduction in ferroelectric domains

Lu Zheng, Hui Dong, Xiaoyu Wu, Yen Lin Huang, Wenbo Wang, Weida Wu, Zheng Wang*, Keji Lai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The electrical generation and detection of elastic waves are the foundation for acoustoelectronic and acoustooptic systems. For surface acoustic wave devices, microelectromechanical/nanoelectromechanical systems, and phononic crystals, tailoring the spatial variation of material properties such as piezoelectric and elastic tensors may bring significant improvements to the system performance. Due to the much slower speed of sound than speed of light in solids, it is desirable to study various electroacoustic behaviors at the mesoscopic length scale. In this work, we demonstrate the interferometric imaging of electromechanical power transduction in ferroelectric lithium niobate domain structures by microwave impedance microscopy. In sharp contrast to the traditional standing-wave patterns caused by the superposition of counterpropagating waves, the constructive and destructive fringes in microwave dissipation images exhibit an intriguing one-wavelength periodicity. We show that such unusual interference patterns, which are fundamentally different from the acoustic displacement fields, stem from the nonlocal interaction between electric fields and elastic waves. The results are corroborated by numerical simulations taking into account the sign reversal of piezoelectric tensor in oppositely polarized domains. Our work paves ways to probe nanoscale electroacoustic phenomena in complex structures by near-field electromagnetic imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5338-5342
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - 22 May 2018


  • Electromechanical power transduction
  • Ferroelectric material
  • Interference patterns
  • Microwave impedance microscopy
  • Surface acoustic wave


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