Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Observation of coupled magnetic and electric domains

Abstract

Ferroelectromagnets are an interesting group of compounds that complement purely (anti-)ferroelectric or (anti-)ferromagnetic materials—they display simultaneous electric and magnetic order1,2,3. With this coexistence they supplement materials in which magnetization can be induced by an electric field and electrical polarization by a magnetic field, a property which is termed the magnetoelectric effect4. Aside from its fundamental importance, the mutual control of electric and magnetic properties is of significant interest for applications in magnetic storage media and ‘spintronics’2,3. The coupled electric and magnetic ordering in ferroelectromagnets is accompanied by the formation of domains and domain walls. However, such a cross-correlation between magnetic and electric domains has so far not been observed. Here we report spatial maps of coupled antiferromagnetic and ferroelectric domains in YMnO3, obtained by imaging with optical second harmonic generation. The coupling originates from an interaction between magnetic and electric domain walls, which leads to a configuration that is dominated by the ferroelectromagnetic product of the order parameters.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Second harmonic spectra of FEM YMnO3 at 6 K.
Figure 2: Coexisting electric and magnetic domains of an YMnO3 sample at 6 K imaged with second harmonic light at 2.46 eV.

References

  1. Smolenskii, G. A. & Chupis, I. E. Ferroelectromagnets. Sov. Phys. Usp. 25, 475–493 (1982)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Schmid, H. Ferroelectrics 162, 317–338 (1994)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Hill, N. A. Why are there so few magnetic ferroelectrics? J. Phys. Chem. B 104, 6694–6709 (2000)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. O'Dell, T. H. The Electrodynamics of Magneto-Electric Media (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1970)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Aizu, K. Possible species of ferromagnetic, ferroelectric, and ferroelastic crystals. Phys. Rev. B 2, 754–772 (1970)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Birss, R. R. Symmetry and Magnetism (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1966)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Yakel, H. L., Koehler, W. C., Bertaut, E. F. & Forrat, E. F. On the crystal structures of the manganese (III) trioxides of the heavy lanthanides and yttrium. Acta Crystallogr. 16, 957–962 (1963)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bertaut, E. F. & Mercier, M. Structure magnetique de MnYO3 . Phys. Lett. 5, 27–29 (1963)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. van Aken, B. B., Meetsma, A. & Palstra, T. T. M. Hexagonal YMnO3 . Acta Crystallogr. C 57, 230–232 (2001)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. van Aken, B. B. . Structural Response to Electronic Transitions in Hexagonal and Ortho-Manganites PhD thesis, Reiksuniversiteit Groningen (2001)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Fiebig, M. et al. Determination of the magnetic symmetry of hexagonal manganites by second harmonic generation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 5620–5623 (2000)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Sa, D., Valenti, R. & Gros, C. A generalized Ginzburg-Landau approach to second harmonic generation. Eur. Phys. J. B 14, 301–305 (2000)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Fiebig, M., Fröhlich, D., Leute, S. & Pisarev, R. V. Topography of antiferromagnetic domains using second harmonic generation with an external reference. Appl. Phys. B 66, 265–270 (1998)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Leute, S., Lottermoser, Th. & Fröhlich, D. Nonlinear spatially resolved phase spectroscopy. Opt. Lett. 24, 1520–1522 (1999)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Fujimura, N., Ishida, T., Yoshimura, T. & Ito, T. Epitaxially grown YMnO3 film: new candidate for nonvolatile memory devices. Appl. Phys. Lett. 69, 1011–1013 (1996)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Iizuka-Sakano, T., Hanamura, E. & Tanabe, Y. Second-harmonic-generation spectra of the hexagonal manganites RMnO3 . J. Phys. Cond. Matter 13, 3031–3055 (2001)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Soboleva, T. K. & Stefanovskii, E. P. Equilibrium state of the magnetic subsystem of antiferromagnetic ferroelelctric. Sov. Phys. Solid State 25, 1637–1638 (1983)

    Google Scholar 

  18. Filippetti, A. & Hill, N. A. First-principles study of structural, electronic and magnetic interplay in ferroelectromagnetic yttrium manganite. J. Magn. Magn. Mater. 236, 176–1898 (2001)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank Y. Tanabe, E. Hanamura and K. Hagita for discussions, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Stiftung for financial support.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. Fiebig.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Fiebig, M., Lottermoser, T., Fröhlich, D. et al. Observation of coupled magnetic and electric domains. Nature 419, 818–820 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature01077

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature01077

This article is cited by

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing