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      Multiferroic and magnetoelectric materials.

      Nature

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          Abstract

          A ferroelectric crystal exhibits a stable and switchable electrical polarization that is manifested in the form of cooperative atomic displacements. A ferromagnetic crystal exhibits a stable and switchable magnetization that arises through the quantum mechanical phenomenon of exchange. There are very few 'multiferroic' materials that exhibit both of these properties, but the 'magnetoelectric' coupling of magnetic and electrical properties is a more general and widespread phenomenon. Although work in this area can be traced back to pioneering research in the 1950s and 1960s, there has been a recent resurgence of interest driven by long-term technological aspirations.

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          Most cited references 85

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          Magnetic control of ferroelectric polarization.

          The magnetoelectric effect--the induction of magnetization by means of an electric field and induction of polarization by means of a magnetic field--was first presumed to exist by Pierre Curie, and subsequently attracted a great deal of interest in the 1960s and 1970s (refs 2-4). More recently, related studies on magnetic ferroelectrics have signalled a revival of interest in this phenomenon. From a technological point of view, the mutual control of electric and magnetic properties is an attractive possibility, but the number of candidate materials is limited and the effects are typically too small to be useful in applications. Here we report the discovery of ferroelectricity in a perovskite manganite, TbMnO3, where the effect of spin frustration causes sinusoidal antiferromagnetic ordering. The modulated magnetic structure is accompanied by a magnetoelastically induced lattice modulation, and with the emergence of a spontaneous polarization. In the magnetic ferroelectric TbMnO3, we found gigantic magnetoelectric and magnetocapacitance effects, which can be attributed to switching of the electric polarization induced by magnetic fields. Frustrated spin systems therefore provide a new area to search for magnetoelectric media.
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            Epitaxial BiFeO3 multiferroic thin film heterostructures.

            Enhancement of polarization and related properties in heteroepitaxially constrained thin films of the ferroelectromagnet, BiFeO3, is reported. Structure analysis indicates that the crystal structure of film is monoclinic in contrast to bulk, which is rhombohedral. The films display a room-temperature spontaneous polarization (50 to 60 microcoulombs per square centimeter) almost an order of magnitude higher than that of the bulk (6.1 microcoulombs per square centimeter). The observed enhancement is corroborated by first-principles calculations and found to originate from a high sensitivity of the polarization to small changes in lattice parameters. The films also exhibit enhanced thickness-dependent magnetism compared with the bulk. These enhanced and combined functional responses in thin film form present an opportunity to create and implement thin film devices that actively couple the magnetic and ferroelectric order parameters.
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              Revival of the magnetoelectric effect

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1038/nature05023
                16915279

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