Multiferroics could lead to low-power devices

May 17, 2011 By Anne Ju

(PhysOrg.com) -- Magnetic materials in which the north and south poles can be reversed with an electric field may be ideal candidates for low-power electronic devices, such as those used for ultra-high data storage. But finding a material with the right combination of magnetoelectric properties has proven a difficult challenge. Using a theoretical approach, Cornell theorists might have found one.

Craig Fennie, assistant professor of applied and engineering physics, and research associate Nicole Benedek used to understand exactly why and how a particular crystalline ceramic, a layered perovskite, is multiferroic. Multiferroic materials are simultaneously ferroelectric (electrically polarized) and ferromagnetic (they exhibit a permanent magnetic field). Their results were published online March 7 in Physical Review Letters, appearing later in print, and are also the subject of a "Viewpoint" in the journal Physics and a "News and Views" column in the journal .

A lot of materials respond to electric fields; others to magnetic fields -- but a small subset of materials called multiferroics respond to both. This discovery decades ago caused excitement due to the potential implications for, for example, magnetic storage devices that barely require power.

The Cornell researchers' calculations revealed that octahedron rotations -- lattice distortions ubiquitous in complex such as perovskite -- simultaneously induce and thereby couple ferroelectricity, magnetoelectricity and ferromagnetism.

This prediction is remarkable because octahedral rotations usually cannot produce a polarization. It also lends new insight into the problem of how to introduce multiferroic order into different materials and the possibility of discovering the best materials to make low-power electronics at room temperature.

Their study demonstrates the possibility of robust, controllable coupling of magnetization and ferroelectric polarization, as well as suggesting electric field switching of the magnetization.

Explore further: New research predicts when, how materials will act

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists find new set of multiferroic materials

Oct 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The trail to a new multiferroic started with the theories of a U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory scientist and ended with a multidisciplinary collaboration that created ...

Fridge magnet transformed

Mar 11, 2011

The ubiquitous and unremarkable magnet, BaFe12O19, is manufactured in large volumes, has the simplest crystal structure in its class, and is often seen on refrigerator doors—but it is set for an inte ...

Tunneling Across a Ferroelectric

Jul 14, 2006

University of Nebraska-Lincoln physicist Evgeny Tsymbal's groundbreaking identification of an emerging research field in electronic devices earned publication this week in Science magazine.

Recommended for you

New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

11 hours ago

University of Utah engineers have discovered a new approach for designing filters capable of separating different frequencies in the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that ...

The super-resolution revolution

11 hours ago

Cambridge scientists are part of a resolution revolution. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, they are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, ...

Precision gas sensor could fit on a chip

13 hours ago

Using their expertise in silicon optics, Cornell engineers have miniaturized a light source in the elusive mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectrum, effectively squeezing the capabilities of a large, tabletop laser onto a 1-millimeter ...

A new X-ray microscope for nanoscale imaging

14 hours ago

Delivering the capability to image nanostructures and chemical reactions down to nanometer resolution requires a new class of x-ray microscope that can perform precision microscopy experiments using ultra-bright ...

New research signals big future for quantum radar

Feb 26, 2015

A prototype quantum radar that has the potential to detect objects which are invisible to conventional systems has been developed by an international research team led by a quantum information scientist at the University ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.