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 11.02.2010   Карта сайта     Language По-русски По-английски
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11.02.2010

Nature 463, 789-792 (11 February 2010) | doi:10.1038/nature08731; Received 31 July 2009; Accepted 26 November 2009



Above-room-temperature ferroelectricity in a single-component molecular crystal


Sachio Horiuchi1, Yusuke Tokunaga2, Gianluca Giovannetti3,4, Silvia Picozzi3, Hirotake Itoh2, Ryo Shimano2,5, Reiji Kumai1 & Yoshinori Tokura1,2,6




  1. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba 305-8562, Japan

  2. Multiferroics Project, ERATO, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan

  3. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche—Ist. Naz. Fisica Materia (CNR-INFM), CASTI Regional Laboratory, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy

  4. Institut Lorenz for Theoretical Physics, Leiden University, The Netherlands

  5. Department of Physics, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan

  6. Department of Applied Physics, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan


Correspondence to: Sachio Horiuchi1Yoshinori Tokura1,2,6 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to S.H. (Email: s-horiuchi@aist.go.jp) or Y. Tokura (Email: tokura@ap.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp).





Ferroelectrics are electro-active materials that can store and switch their polarity (ferroelectricity), sense temperature changes (pyroelectricity), interchange electric and mechanical functions (piezoelectricity), and manipulate light (through optical nonlinearities and the electro-optic effect): all of these functions have practical applications. Topological switching of π-conjugation in organic molecules, such as the keto-enol transformation, has long been anticipated as a means of realizing these phenomena in molecular assemblies and crystals1. Croconic acid, an ingredient of black dyes2, was recently found to have a hydrogen-bonded polar structure in a crystalline state3. Here we demonstrate that application of an electric field can coherently align the molecular polarities in crystalline croconic acid, as indicated by an increase of optical second harmonic generation, and produce a well-defined polarization hysteresis at room temperature. To make this simple pentagonal molecule ferroelectric, we switched the π-bond topology using synchronized proton transfer instead of rigid-body rotation. Of the organic ferroelectrics, this molecular crystal exhibits the highest spontaneous polarization (~20μCcm-2) in spite of its small molecular size, which is in accord with first-principles electronic-structure calculations. Such high polarization, which persists up to 400K, may find application in active capacitor and nonlinear optics elements in future organic electronics.



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  • Harton Vladislav Vadim  honorary member of ISSC science council

  • Lichtenstain Alexandr Iosif  honorary member of ISSC science council

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  • Yakushev Mikhail Vasilii  honorary member of ISSC science council

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