Functional domain walls in ferroelastic thin films
Ferroelastic domain walls separate regions with different crystal orientations. As other types of domain walls, they break symmetry and, thus, are able to host additional functionalities that are not present in the domains. Moreover, ferroelastic domain walls give rise to large strains and strain gradients that can fundamentally modify the physical properties. The strain gradients act as driving force for the migration of defects, which tend to accumulate at the walls. I will show that, using epitaxial strain in thin films, one can generate periodic arrays of domain walls with controlled densities. This, together with the latest developments in scanning probe and transmission electron microscopy, allows us to investigate the distinct properties of these nano-objects.