A sharp-interface model based on the linear constrained theory of laminates identifies eight distinct rank-2 periodic patterns in tetragonal ferroelectrics. While some of the periodic solutions, such as the herringbone and stripe patterns are commonly observed, others such as the checkerboard pattern consisting of repeating polarization vortices are rarely seen in experiments. The linear constrained theory predicts compatible domain arrangements, but neglects gradient effects at domain walls and misfit stresses due to junctions of domains. Here, we employ a phase-field model to test the stability of the periodic domain patterns with in-plane polarizations, under periodic boundary conditions which impose zero average stress and electric field. The results indicate that domain patterns containing strong disclinations are of high energy and typically unstable in the absence of external stresses or electric fields. The study also provides insight into the internal stresses developed in the various domain patterns.

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