Ferroelectric domain structures of a 〈001〉-oriented lead magnesium niobate–lead titanate tetragonal crystal were examined under cyclic bipolar electric fields. Complex patterns of orthogonal domain strips were found to emerge from a simple structure of parallel strips of 90°domains. Near the boundary between the two orthogonal sets of the domain strips, domains were forced to intersect, creating charged domain walls at the intersections. With continued electric cycling, direct impingement of individual domains resulted in domain interpenetration and fine domain cells in the boundary region. Away from the boundary region, initial domain walls were withdrawn and replaced by the walls along a different orientation, resulting in separate areas that each contained a single set of parallel strips of domains. A model based on 180° domain switching is suggested to explain interpenetration of the domains and the withdrawal of the original domain walls.
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