The origin of photovoltaic responses in BiFeO3 multiferroic ceramics


Multiferroic BiFeO3 (BFO) ceramics with electrodes of indium tin oxide (ITO) and Au thin films exhibit significant photovoltaic effects under near-ultraviolet illumination (λ = 405 nm) and show strong dependences on light wavelength, illumination intensity, and sample thickness. The correlation between photovoltaic responses and illumination intensity can be attributed to photo-excited and thermally generated charge carriers in the interface depletion region between BFO ceramic and ITO thin film. A theoretical model is developed to describe the open-circuit photovoltage and short-circuit photocurrent density as a function of illumination intensity. This model can be applied to the photovoltaic effects in p–n junction type BFO thin films and other systems. The BFO ceramic exhibits stronger photovoltaic responses than the ferroelectric Pb1−xLax(ZryTi1−y)1−x/4O3 (PLZT) ceramics under near-ultraviolet illumination. Comparisons are made with other systems and models for the photovoltaic effect.




C.-S. Tu, C.-M. Hung, V.H. Schmidt, R.R. Chien, M.-D. Jiang, and J. Anthoninappen, “The origin of photovoltaic responses in BiFeO3 multiferroic ceramics,” Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 24, 495902 (5 pp.) (2012). doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/24/49/495902.
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