Structure-property relationships in ferroelectrics extend over several length scales from the individual unit cell to the macroscopic device, and with dynamics spanning a broad temporal domain. Characterizing the multi-scale structural origin of electric field-induced polarization reversal and strain in ferroelectrics is an ongoing challenge that so far has obscured its fundamental behaviour. By utilizing small intensity differences between Friedel pairs due to resonant scattering, we demonstrate a time-resolved X-ray diffraction technique for directly and simultaneously measuring both lattice strain and, for the first time, polarization reversal during in-situ electrical perturbation. This technique is demonstrated for BaTiO3-BiZn0.5Ti0.5O3 (BT-BZT) polycrystalline ferroelectrics, a prototypical lead-free piezoelectric with an ambiguous switching mechanism. This combines the benefits of spectroscopic and diffraction-based measurements into a single and robust technique with time resolution down to the ns scale, opening a new door to in-situ structure-property characterization that probes the full extent of the ferroelectric behaviour.
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