Bismuth titanate (Bi4Ti3O12; BIT) -based ferroelectric thin films fabricated from a view point of “the site-engineering technique” have been expected to improve the fatal disadvantage of a ferroelectric BIT film, i.e., its low spontaneous polarization; here, Bi- and Ti-site ions in the BIT crystal are cosubstituted by lanthanoid ions and cations with a higher charge valence, respectively, In the present study, we have mainly focused on Ti-site substitution of bismuth titanate (Bi4Ti3O12; BIT)-based thin films using some ions with higher charge valences (V5+, Nb5+, Ta 5+ and W6+; in this study) to enhance the ferroelectric properties of those materials. The BIT-based films with various chemical compositions were fabricated on a (111)Pt/Ti/SiO2/(100)Si substrate by a chemical solution deposition method.
Ti-site substitution of BIT films by the higher-valent ions, Bi3.99(Ti2.97V0.03)O12, Bi3.99(Ti2.97Nb0.03)O12, Bi3.99(Ti2.97Ta0.03)O12 and Bi3.98(Ti2.97W0.03)O12, reduced the leakage current density of BIT films from ∼ 10-6 down to ∼ 10-7 A/cm2 at an applied field of 50 kV/cm, while the substitution by the same-valent cation, e.g., Bi4.00(Ti2.97Zr0.03)O12, did not affect the behavior of leakage current. Whereas polarization (P) - electrical field (E) hysteresis loops of non-substituted and Zr-substituted BIT films were distorted due to the leakage current, non-distorted P-E loops were obtained at V5+-, Nb5+-, Ta5+- and W6+-substituted BIT films.
Also, Ti-site substitution was effective for improving the ferroelectric properties in lanthanoid-substituted BIT films. In the case of La3+-substituted BIT film (BLT), remanent polarization (Pr) of V5+- and W6+-substituted BLT films, (Bi3.24La0.75)(Ti2.97V0.03)O12 and (Bi3.23La0.75)(Ti2.97W0.03)O12 (13 and 12 μC/cm2, respectively), were larger than those of Zr4+- and non-substituted BLT films, (Bi3.25La0.75)(Ti2.97Zr0.03)O12 and (Bi3.25La0.75)(Ti3.00)O12 (8 and 9 μC/cm2, respectively), while those films had similar coercive field (Ec) of approximately 120 kV/cm. Also in the case of Nd3+-substituted BIT film (BNT), Pr and Ec values of V5+-substituted BNT film, (Bi3.24Nd0.75)(Ti2.98V0.02)O12, were 37 μC/cm2 and 119 kV/cm, respectively, which were comparable with those of conventional Pb-based ferroelectrics such as lead zirconate titanate, Pb(Zr,Ti)O3. We concluded that enhancement of the Pr value was achieved by the charge compensation of oxygen vacancies in BIT-based ferroelectrics using higher-valent cations than Ti4+ ion whereas no obvious differences were found in the crystal orientation and or microstructure of these films.