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Giant thermal Hall effect in multiferroics


Multiferroics1,2, in which dielectric and magnetic orders coexist and couple with each other, attract renewed interest for their cross-correlated phenomena3,4, offering a fundamental platform for novel functionalities. Elementary excitations in such systems are strongly affected by the lattice–spin interaction, as exemplified by the electromagnons5,6 and the magneto-thermal transport7,8,9,10. Here we report an unprecedented coupling between magnetism and phonons in multiferroics, namely, the giant thermal Hall effect. The thermal transport of insulating polar magnets (ZnxFe1−x)2Mo3O8 is dominated by phonons, yet extremely sensitive to the magnetic structure. In particular, large thermal Hall conductivities are observed in the ferrimagnetic phase, indicating unconventional lattice–spin interactions and a new mechanism for the Hall effect in insulators. Our results show that the thermal Hall effect in multiferroic materials can be an effective probe for strong lattice–spin interactions and provide a new tool for magnetic control of thermal currents.

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Figure 1: Crystal structure and magnetic phase diagram of (ZnxFe1−x)2Mo3O8.
Figure 2: Thermal and magnetic properties of (Zn0.125Fe0.875)2Mo3O8.
Figure 3: Thermal and magnetic properties of Fe2Mo3O8.
Figure 4: Thermal Hall effect in insulators.

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We thank N. Yoshioka, H. Katsura and N. Nagaosa for fruitful discussions about the origin of the Hall effect. This research was supported by the following grants; MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Research Activity Start-up (No. JP15H06133), MEXT KAKENHI (No. JP24224009), and CREST, JST (No. JPMJCR16F1).

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T.I., T.K. and Y.T. conceived and designed the experiments. T.K. and S.I. synthesized the single crystals of (ZnxFe1−x)2Mo3O8 and T.K. characterized the magnetic and dielectric properties of samples. T.I. carried out the thermal transport experiments. T.I., T.K. and Y.T. led the physical discussions and wrote the manuscript. All authors commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to T. Ideue.

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Ideue, T., Kurumaji, T., Ishiwata, S. et al. Giant thermal Hall effect in multiferroics. Nature Mater 16, 797–802 (2017).

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