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property of certain nonconducting crystals, or dielectrics, that exhibit spontaneous electric polarization (separation of the centre of positive and negative electric charge, making one side of the crystal positive and the opposite side negative) that can be reversed in direction by the application of an appropriate electric field. Ferroelectricity is named by analogy with ferromagnetism, which occurs in such materials as iron. Iron atoms, being tiny magnets, spontaneously align themselves in clusters called ferromagnetic domains, which in turn can be oriented predominantly in a given direction by the application of an external magnetic field.