Multiscale simulations of domains in ferroelectrics

S. Liu, I. Grinberg, A. M. Rappe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on recent studies of ferroelectrics, where large-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using first-principles-based force fields played a central role in revealing important physics inaccessible to direct density functional theory (DFT) calculations but critical for developing physically-based free energy functional for coarse-grained phase-field-type simulations. After reviewing typical atomistic potentials of ferroelectrics for MD simulations, the chapter describes a progressive theoretical framework that combines DFT, MD, and a mean-field theory. It then focuses on relaxor ferroelectrics. By examining the spatial and temporal polarization correlations in prototypical relaxor ferroelectrics with million-atom MD simulations and novel analysis techniques, this chapter shows that the widely accepted model of polar nanoregions embedded in a non-polar matrix is incorrect for Pb-based relaxors. Rather, the unusual properties of theses relaxor ferroelectrics stem from the presence of a multi-domain state with extremely small domain sizes (2-10 nanometers), giving rise to a greater flexibility for polarization rotations and the ultrahigh dielectric and piezoelectric responses. Finally, this chapter discusses the challenges and opportunities for multiscale simulations of ferroelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDomain Walls
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Fundamental Properties to Nanotechnology Concepts
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780198862499
StatePublished - 22 Oct 2020


  • DFT
  • Density functional theory
  • Ferroelectrics
  • MD simulations
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Multiscale simulations
  • Relaxor ferroelectrics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiscale simulations of domains in ferroelectrics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this