Editor's Summary

19 August 2010

Multiferroics made easier


Ferroelectric ferromagnets, or multiferroics, are of significant technological interest because they combine the low power and high speed of field-effect electronics with the permanence and routability of voltage-controlled ferromagnetism. Unfortunately, they are rare, and those that do exist have ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties that are typically weak compared with conventional useful ferroelectrics and ferromagnets. A new route to fabricating multiferroics was recently predicted: in theory, magnetically ordered insulators that are neither ferroelectric nor ferromagnetic — of which there are many — can be turned into ferroelectric multiferroics by strain from the underlying substrate. June Hyuk Lee et al. now realize this route experimentally for EuTiO3. Their demonstration that a single experimental parameter, strain, can simultaneously control multiple order parameters opens up exciting possibilities for creating useful multiferroic materials.

LetterA strong ferroelectric ferromagnet created by means of spin–lattice coupling

June Hyuk Lee, Lei Fang, Eftihia Vlahos, Xianglin Ke, Young Woo Jung, Lena Fitting Kourkoutis, Jong-Woo Kim, Philip J. Ryan, Tassilo Heeg, Martin Roeckerath, Veronica Goian, Margitta Bernhagen, Reinhard Uecker, P. Chris Hammel, Karin M. Rabe, Stanislav Kamba, Jürgen Schubert, John W. Freeland, David A. Muller, Craig J. Fennie, Peter Schiffer, Venkatraman Gopalan, Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin & Darrell G. Schlom

doi:10.1038/nature09331