Conductivity Contrast and Tunneling Charge Transport in the Vortexlike Ferroelectric Domain Patterns of Multiferroic Hexagonal YMnO3
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We deduce the intrinsic conductivity properties of the ferroelectric domain walls around the topologically protected domain vortex cores in multiferroic YMnO3. This is achieved by performing a careful equivalent-circuit analysis of dielectric spectra measured in single-crystalline samples with different vortex densities. The conductivity contrast between the bulk domains and the less conducting domain boundaries is revealed to reach up to a factor of 500 at room temperature, depending on the sample preparation. Tunneling of localized defect charge carriers is the dominant charge-transport process in the domain walls that are depleted of mobile charge carriers. This work demonstrates that, via equivalent-circuit analysis, dielectric spectroscopy can provide valuable information on the intrinsic charge-transport properties of ferroelectric domain walls, which is of high relevance for the design of new domain-wall-based microelectronic devices.