Barium titanate (BaTiO3, hereafter BT) is an established ferroelectric material first discovered in the 1940s and still widely used because of its well-balanced ferroelectricity, piezoelectricity, and dielectric constant. In addition, BT does not contain any toxic elements. Therefore, it is considered to be an eco-friendly material, which has attracted considerable interest as a replacement for lead zirconate titanate (PZT). However, bulk BT loses its ferroelectricity at approximately 130 °C, thus, it cannot be used at high temperatures. Because of the growing demand for high-temperature ferroelectric materials, it is important to enhance the thermal stability of ferroelectricity in BT. In previous studies, strain originating from the lattice mismatch at hetero-interfaces has been used. However, the sample preparation in this approach requires complicated and expensive physical processes, which are undesirable for practical applications.
In this study, we propose a chemical synthesis of a porous material as an alternative means of introducing strain. We synthesized a porous BT thin film using a surfactant-assisted sol-gel method, in which self-assembled amphipathic surfactant micelles were used as an organic template. Through a series of studies, we clarified that the introduction of pores had a similar effect on distorting the BT crystal lattice, to that of a hetero-interface, leading to the enhancement and stabilization of ferroelectricity. Owing to its simplicity and cost effectiveness, this fabrication process has considerable advantages over conventional methods.