Avalanche criticality in LaAlO3 and the effect of aspect ratio

Scott, John j. r. and Casals, Blai and Luo, King-Fa and Haq, Atta and Mariotti, Davide and Salje, Ekhard k. h. and Arredondo, Miryam (2022) Avalanche criticality in LaAlO3 and the effect of aspect ratio. Scientific Reports, 12. 14818. ISSN 2045-2322 (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18390-7)

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Ferroic domain dynamics, as a function of external stimuli, can be collectively described as scale-invariant avalanches characterised by a critical exponent that are sensitive to the complexity of the domain microstructure. The understanding and manipulation of these avalanches lies at the heart of developing novel applications such as neuromorphic computing. Here we combine in situ heating optical observations and mean-field analysis to investigate the collective domain behaviour in pure-ferroelastic lanthanum aluminate (LaAlO3) as a function of aspect ratio, the ratio of sample length to width, where the movement of the domains is predominantly driven by thermal stresses via thermal expansion/contraction during heat cycling. Our observations demonstrate that the aspect ratio induces (1) distinctive domain microstructures at room temperature, (2) a deviation of dynamical behaviour at high temperatures and (3) critical exponent mixing in the higher aspect ratio samples that accompanies this behaviour. While the critical exponents of each aspect ratio fall within mean-field predicted values, we highlight the effect that the aspect ratio has in inducing exponent mixing. Hence, furthering our understanding towards tuning and controlling avalanches which is crucial for fundamental and applied research.