GaV 4 S 8 is a multiferroic semiconductor hosting Néel-type magnetic skyrmions dressed with electric polarization. At T s = 42 K, the compound undergoes a structural phase transition of weakly first-order, from a non-centrosymmetric cubic phase at high temperatures to a polar rhombohedral structure at low temperatures. Below T s, ferroelectric domains are formed with the electric polarization pointing along any of the four (111) axes. Although in this material the size and the shape of the ferroelectric-ferroelastic domains may act as important limiting factors in the formation of the Néel-type skyrmion lattice emerging below T C = 13 K, the characteristics of polar domains in GaV 4 S 8 have not been studied yet. Here, we report on the inspection of the local-scale ferroelectric domain distribution in rhombohedral GaV 4 S 8 using low-temperature piezoresponse force microscopy. We observed mechanically and electrically compatible lamellar domain patterns, where the lamellae are aligned parallel to the (100)-type planes with a typical spacing between 100 nm-1.2 μm. Since the magnetic pattern, imaged by atomic force microscopy using a magnetically coated tip, abruptly changes at the domain boundaries, we expect that the control of ferroelectric domain size in polar skyrmion hosts can be exploited for the spatial confinement and manipulation of Néel-type skyrmions.
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