Experiments and three-dimensional numerical modeling of nanoscale piezoelectric response across a single domain wall in ferroelectric lithium niobate are presented. Surprising asymmetry in the local electromechanical response across a single antiparallel ferroelectric domain wall is reported. Piezoelectric force microscopy is used to investigate both the in-plane and out-of- plane electromechanical signals around domain walls in congruent and near-stoichiometric lithium niobate. The observed asymmetry is shown to have a strong correlation to crystal stoichiometry, suggesting defect–domain-wall interactions. A defect-dipole model is proposed. The finite-element method is used to simulate the electromechanical processes at the wall and reconstruct the images. For the near-stoichiometric composition, good agreement is found in both form and magnitude. Some discrepancy remains between the experimental and modeling widths of the imaged effects across a wall. This is analyzed from the perspective of possible electrostatic contributions to the imaging process, as well as local changes in the material properties in the vicinity of the wall.
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