Magnetoelectric (ME) materials are at the frontier of materials research due to a variety of non-trivial coupling mechanisms interweaving electric and magnetic degrees of freedom. Their properties are in many aspects superior over today’s spintronic materials where the emphasis is on creating and manipulating spin-polarized (but nevertheless dissipating) electric currents. Controlling ME coupling on the nanoscale enables unprecedented possibilities to tailor functional materials and complex nanostructures, thus opening unique perspectives for novel technologies where electrically controlled magnetism offers innovative approaches for device operation.
The primary objective of this IRG is to understand magnetoelectricity in complex functional heterostructures and enable its unconventional use beyond the realm of static equilibrium and linear response. This objective will be achieved through interdisciplinary investigations of ME antiferromagnets, complex oxide thin films, ME multiferroics, and molecular-level magnetoelectrics. They will be implemented in new functional heterostructures and subject to external stimuli giving rise to responses in a hitherto unexplored parameter space. The expected research outcomes are new insights in the ME coupling and spin dynamics of magnetoelectrics, development of novel voltage-controlled ultra-low power spintronic devices, and harnessing voltage-controlled entropy changes in conceptually new materials design.
IRG 1 Researchers
Christian Binek (coordinator) - MBE, PLD, Magnetometry
Shireen Adenwalla - Sputtering, XMCD, Kerr
Kirill Belashchenko - Theory transport, magnetoelectricity
Peter Dowben - Photoemission, XMCD
Xia Hong - Sputtering, Transport
Dhananjay Kumar - Magnetometry
Rebecca Lai - Biosensors
Mathias Schubert - THz Ellipsometry
Jeffrey Shield - HRTEM
Xiaoshan Xu - PLD, n0-scattering
Jian Zhang - Chemical synthesis
Research Thrust 1:
Dynamic Straindriven Phase Transitions
Thrust 1 explores dynamic strain-driven phase transitions and entropy changes in ME bulk materials and thin films. Here the full potential of ME coupling beyond the linear static regime is exploited.
- ME boundary magnetization and antiferromagnetic order
- Oxides with strain sensitive metal-insulator transition
- Electromagnon dispersion
- Magnetocaloric effect
Research Thrust 2:
Functional Magnetoelectric Materials and Interfaces
Thrust 2 utilizes ME heterostructures and materials for fundamental investigations of voltage-controlled interface and bulk magnetic states and paves the way for the development of ultra-low power non-volatile memory applications, where switching of magnetic state variables by electrically driven non-linear processes is a key phenomenon.
- Detecting ME boundary magnetization
- Hexagonal ferrite films as ME active materials
- Electric field control of interface magnetic anisotropy and exchange bias
Research Thrust 3:
Thrust 3 explores novel molecular-level magnetoelectrics where local and external electric fields are used to switch organic spin crossover molecules and to control and characterize the magnetism of nanoclusters and thin films. Here the basic concepts of Thrusts 1 and 2 are extrapolated down to the scale of individual molecules.
- Spin-crossover molecular overlayers
- Tailoring magnetism of metal nanoclusters by single dipolar molecule ligands
IRG 1 Highlights:
» Physical Review Applied 2016
J. Wang and C. Binek, “Dispersion of Electric-Field-Induced Faraday Effect in Magnetoelectric Cr2O3,” Phys. Rev. Appl. 5, 031001 [6 pp] (2016).
» Physical Review Letters 2016
A. Rajapitamahuni, L. Zhang, M. A Koten, V. R. Singh, J. D. Burton, E. Y. Tsymbal, J. E. Shield, and X. Hong, "Giant Enhancement of Magnetic Anisotropy in Ultrathin Manganite Films via Nanoscale 1D Periodic Depth Modulation," Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 187201 (2016).
» Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 2016
S. Cao, X. Zhang, T. R. Paudel, K. Sinha, X. Wang, X. Jiang, W. Wang, S. Brutsche, J. Wang, P. J. Ryan, J.-W. Kim, X. Cheng, E. Y. Tsymbal, P. A. Dowben, and X. Xu, “On the Structural Origin of the Single-Ion Magnetic Anisotropy in LuFeO3,” J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 28, 156001 [10 pp] (2016).
» Applied Physical Letters 2015
L. Zhang, X. G. Chen, H. J. Gardner, M. A. Koten, J. E. Shield, and X. Hong, “Effect of Strain on Ferroelectric Field Effect in Strongly Correlated Oxide Sm0.5Nd0.5NiO3”, Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 152906 [5 pp] (2015).
» Nano Letters 2015
A. Nguyen, P. Sharma, T. Scott, E. Preciado, V. Klee, D. Sun, I.-H. Lu, D. Barroso, S. Kim, V. Y. Shur, A. R. Akhmatkhanov, A. Gruverman, L. Bartels, and P. A. Dowben, “Toward ferroelectric control of monolayer MoS2," Nano Lett. 15 (5), 3364-3369 (2015).
» Nature Communications 2014
T. H. Vo, M. Shekhirev, D. A. Kunkel, M. D. Morton, E. Berglund, L. Kong, P. M. Wilson, P. A. Dowben, A. Enders, and A. Sinitskii, “Large-Scale solution synthesis of narrow graphene nanoribbons,” Nature Communications 5, 3189 (2014).