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 m–1, 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 m–3).
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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.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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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). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-021-00584-y