We report the effects of lanthanum doping/alloying on antiferroelectric (AFE) properties of ZrO2. Starting with pure ZrO2, an increase in La doping leads to the narrowing of the AFE double hysteresis loops and an increase in the critical voltage/electric field for AFE → ferroelectric transition. At higher La contents, the polarization-voltage characteristics of doped/alloyed ZrO2 resemble that of a non-linear dielectric without any discernible AFE-type hysteresis. X-ray diffraction based analysis indicates that the increased La content while preserving the non-polar, parent AFE, tetragonal P42/nmc phase leads to a decrease in tetragonality and the (nano-)crystallite size and an increase in the unit cell volume. Furthermore, antiferroelectric behavior is obtained in the as-deposited thin films without requiring any capping metallic layers and post-deposition/-metallization anneals due to which our specific atomic layer deposition system configuration crystallizes and stabilizes the AFE tetragonal phase during growth.

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