NRI/NSF Supplement to Nebraska MRSEC:

Multiferroic Interfaces: New Paradigms for Functional Switching

In 2007 Nebraska MRSEC was awarded a Supplemental Grant funded jointly by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) of the Semiconductor Research Consortium. The NRI includes six leading electronics firms, AMD, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, Micron Technology, Texas Instruments, and Intel, promoting basic research to develop concepts for the nanoelectronics of the future.

MRSEC Supplement Research Areas:

The overall objective of this Supplement is to investigate fundamental properties of the interfaces between two distinct ferroic materials which may be used for functional switching of new nanoelectronic devices. Based on first-principles calculations effects of lateral strain, chemical bonding and charge transfer are to be studied to understand the coupling between electronic, magnetic, structural and transport properties at multiferroic interfaces. Three complementary thrust areas address effects of the electric polarization reversal at the ferromagnet/ferroelectric interface on:

  • Magnetization (magnetoelectric effect)
  • Surface magnetic anisotropy (magnetization switching)
  • Transport spin polarization (spin transmission switching)

MRSEC Supplement Highlights:


First-principles calculations of the electronic and atomic structure of Fe/BaTiO3 interfaces predict that the reversal of the electric polarization in the ferroelectric BaTiO3 change the magnetic moment and the surface magnetic anisotropy of the ferromagnetic Fe film. Tailoring the magnetization and magnetic anisotropy of a nanomagnet by an adjacent ferroelectric material may yield entirely new device concepts, such as electric-field controlled magnetic data storage.


NRI/NSF Supplemental Grant


Evgeny Tsymbal (coordinator) - Spin transport, magnetism, ferroelectricity

Kirill Belashchenko - Electronic structure, transport, magnetism

Renat Sabirianov - Non-collinear magnetism, ferroelectricity


Industry Liaisons

George Bourianoff – Intel
Luigi Colombo – Texas Instruments
William Gallagher – IBM
Ron Goldfarb – NIST Boulder
Zoran Krivokapic – AMD
John Smythe – Micron Technology