Multiferroics: Coupling of three lattice instabilities

Journal name:
Nature Materials
Year published:
Published online

The interaction between ferroelectric distortion and two rotational modes in some transition-metal oxides promises a strategy for strong magnetoelectronic coupling, possibly at room temperature.

At a glance


  1. Artificially and naturally layered perovskites.
    Figure 1: Artificially and naturally layered perovskites.

    Schematic front view of a, the simple cubic perovskite structure, b, PbTiO3/SrTiO3 1/1 superlattice5, c, Ca3Mn2O7 Ruddlesden–Popper compound1 and d, SrBi2Nb2O9 Aurrivilius compound10.

  2. Typical energy versus polarization curves.
    Figure 2: Typical energy versus polarization curves.

    Non-ferroelectric compounds can be made ferroelectric either by renormalizing the energy curvature at the origin to produce a double well as can be done via strain (red to blue curve) or by shifting the energy well through the linear coupling with primary non-polar mode(s) as it is done in (hybrid) improper ferroelectrics (red to green curve). In hybrid improper ferroelectrics, owing to the trilinear coupling term, switching the polarization implies the reversal of one of the rotational modes (green to dashed-green curve).


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Author information


  1. Philippe Ghosez is in the Department of Physics, Université de Liège, B-4000 Sart Tilman, Belgium.

    • Jean-Marc Triscone
  2. Jean-Marc Triscone is in the Department of Condensed Matter Physics, Université de Genève, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland.

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