Ferroelectric nanoscale domains and the 905 K phase transition in SrSnO3: A neutron total-scattering study
A L Goodwin, S A T Redfern, M T Dove, D A Keen and M G Tucker
Phys Rev B 76, 174114 (2007)
The 905 K Pnma–Imma phase transition in SrSnO3 is studied here using a combination of variable-temperature neutron total scattering together with the reverse Monte Carlo (RMC) refinement method. The real-space RMC configurations obtained are analyzed in terms of bond distance and bond-angle distributions, and a geometric algebra approach is used to quantify the associated octahedral-tilting distributions. What emerges from this analysis is that the transition is displacive in nature, in contrast to the results of a recent average-structure investigation in which an order-disorder model was proposed [E. H. Mountstevens et al., Phys. Rev. B 71, 220102(R) (2005)]. Three-dimensional diffuse scattering patterns calculated from the same RMC configurations reveal the existence of an additional disorder mechanism which persists across the Pnma-Imma transition. The “reflection conditions” of this diffuse scattering, together with displacement correlation calculations, point to the existence of ferroelectric nanoscale domains within the configurations, which are found to extend across planar regions of approximately 10–15 Å in diameter.