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Self-biased magnetoelectric switching at room temperature in three-phase ferroelectric–antiferromagnetic–ferrimagnetic nanocomposites

An Author Correction to this article was published on 09 June 2021

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Magnetoelectric systems could be used to develop magnetoelectric random access memory and microsensor devices. One promising system is the two-phase 3-1-type multiferroic nanocomposite in which a one-dimensional magnetic column is embedded in a three-dimensional ferroelectric matrix. However, it suffers from a number of limitations including unwanted leakage currents and the need for biasing with a magnetic field. Here we show that the addition of an antiferromagnet to a 3-1-type multiferroic nanocomposite can lead to a large, self-biased magnetoelectric effect at room temperature. Our three-phase system is composed of a ferroelectric Na0.5Bi0.5TiO3 matrix in which ferrimagnetic NiFe2O4 nanocolumns coated with antiferromagnetic p-type NiO are embedded. This system, which is self-assembled, exhibits a magnetoelectric coefficient of up to 1.38 × 10–9 s m1, which is large enough to switch the magnetic anisotropy from the easy axis (Keff = 0.91 × 104 J m–3) to the easy plane (Keff = –1.65 × 104 J m3).

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Fig. 1: Schematic of a comparison between three-phase and two-phase nanocomposites.
Fig. 2: Characterizations of leakage.
Fig. 3: STEM characterizations.
Fig. 4: Magnetic hysteresis loops measured with in situ electric voltage.
Fig. 5: Dependence of EB effect on the applied voltage.
Fig. 6: Voltage-induced strain and its impact on magnetic anisotropy energy of NiO.

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Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request.

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We acknowledge funding from the Leverhulme Trust grant no. RPG-2015-017, EPSRC grant nos. EP/N004272/1 and EP/M000524/1, the Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies grant no. CiET1819\24, EU grant no. H2020-MSCA-IF-2016 (745886)-MuStMAM and the Isaac Newton Trust (grant no. RG96474). This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (grant no. 2017YFA0206303) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 11975035 and 51731001). The US–UK collaborative effort was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation grant nos. ECCS-1902644 (Purdue University) and ECCS-1902623 (University at Buffalo, SUNY), U.S. Office of Naval Research grant no. N00014-20-1-2043 (Purdue University) and the EPRSC grant no. EP/T012218/1 (University of Cambridge). RBS measurements were performed at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), an Office of Science User Facility operated for the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Los Alamos National Laboratory, an affirmative action equal opportunity employer, is managed by Triad National Security, LLC for the US Department of Energy’s NNSA, under contract 89233218CNA000001.

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Authors and Affiliations



R.W. and J.L.M.-D. conceived the experiments and supervised the research. R.W. made the samples and carried out the XRD and AFM characterizations and magnetic properties measurement. D.Z., P.L., X.G. and H.W. performed STEM imaging and EDX mapping. Jie Yang, R.W., G.T., Z.R. and Jinbo Yang contributed to the DFT calculation. S.Z., Z.Z. and M.L. contributed to the FMR measurement. X.W., H.Z. and Q.J. contributed to the Hall effect measurement. A.K. contributed to the PFM and c-AFM measurements. Y.W. and W.L. contributed to the RBS characterization. R.W., C.Y. and K.H.L.Z. contributed to the electric measurement and analysis. R.W., T.M. and J.L.M.-D. contributed to the data analysis and wrote the manuscript. All the authors contributed to reviewing and revising the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rui Wu, Tuhin Maity or Judith L. MacManus-Driscoll.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Electronics thanks Morgan Trassin and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Wu, R., Zhang, D., Maity, T. et al. Self-biased magnetoelectric switching at room temperature in three-phase ferroelectric–antiferromagnetic–ferrimagnetic nanocomposites. Nat Electron 4, 333–341 (2021).

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