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Electric-field control of magnetic order above room temperature

Abstract

Controlling magnetism by means of electric fields is a key issue for the future development of low-power spintronics1. Progress has been made in the electrical control of magnetic anisotropy2, domain structure3,4, spin polarization5,6 or critical temperatures7,8. However, the ability to turn on and off robust ferromagnetism at room temperature and above has remained elusive. Here we use ferroelectricity in BaTiO3 crystals to tune the sharp metamagnetic transition temperature of epitaxially grown FeRh films and electrically drive a transition between antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic order with only a few volts, just above room temperature. The detailed analysis of the data in the light of first-principles calculations indicate that the phenomenon is mediated by both strain and field effects from the BaTiO3. Our results correspond to a magnetoelectric coupling larger than previous reports by at least one order of magnitude and open new perspectives for the use of ferroelectrics in magnetic storage and spintronics.

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Figure 1: Structural and magnetic properties of FeRh/BaTiO3.
Figure 2: Influence of an applied voltage on the temperature dependence of the magnetization in FeRh/BaTiO3.
Figure 3: Voltage dependence of the magnetization and the structural parameters.
Figure 4: Influence of strain on the stability of AFM and FM states.
Figure 5: Influence of charge injection on the magnetic order.

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Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to A. Gloter and S. Van Dijken for fruitful discussions and R. Mattana, C. Carrétéro, E. Lesne and R. Weil for technical assistance with SQUID measurements, sample growth and high-temperature MOKE. This work received financial support from the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche through project NOMILOPS (ANR-11-BS10-0016) and the European Research Council Advanced Grant FEMMES (contract no. 267579). R.O.C. acknowledges financial support by Thales through a CIFRE PhD grant.

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M.B. and A.B. initiated the study. A.B. and R.O.C. conceived the experiments. R.O.C. prepared the samples and performed RHEED with the assistance of E.J. L.C.P., I.C.I., B.D., N.G., R.O.C. and M.B. carried out the X-ray diffraction experiments. V.G., S.F. and R.O.C. measured the ferroelectric response of the samples. R.O.C. characterized the samples by SQUID magnetometry, A.M. by MOKE and L.C.P., A.A.Ü., S.V. and F.K. by X-PEEM. V.I. and A.Z. performed the first-principles calculations using the code developed by P.R.B. M.B. wrote the manuscript with inputs from V.I. and A.Z. All authors contributed to the manuscript and the interpretation of the data.

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Correspondence to V. Ivanovskaya or M. Bibes.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Cherifi, R., Ivanovskaya, V., Phillips, L. et al. Electric-field control of magnetic order above room temperature. Nature Mater 13, 345–351 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3870

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