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Small-voltage multiferroic control of two-dimensional magnetic insulators


Magnetic insulators, which have long-range magnetic order and are electrically insulating, allow spin propagation without electron motion and could be used to create dissipationless magnetoelectric and magneto-optical devices. Atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) magnetic insulators could, in particular, be used to fabricate compact devices. However, the efficient electrical control of 2D magnetic insulators remains a challenge due to difficulties in electrostatically doping such insulators and the inability of external electric fields to modify their crystal fields. Here we report the electrical control of the 2D magnetic insulator chromium germanium telluride (Cr2Ge2Te6) using a thin ferroelectric polymer. We show that ±5 V across the Cr2Ge2Te6/polymer heterostructures can open and close the magnetic hysteresis loop. The magnetic modulation is non-volatile, and is observed in bilayer, trilayer and four-layer Cr2Ge2Te6, but not in thicker eight-layer Cr2Ge2Te6, which indicates the importance of the interfacial multiferroic effect. The heterostructure multiferroics also enable direct electrical toggling between two magnetization states.

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Fig. 1: Multiferroic heterostructure device.
Fig. 2: Voltage control of magnetism in Cr2Ge2Te6/P(VDF-TrFE).
Fig. 3: Voltage dependence of magnetic coercivity and percentile remanent magnetization in 2L-Cr2Ge2Te6/P(VDF-TrFE) at 4 K.
Fig. 4: Direct voltage switching of magnetization in 2L-Cr2Ge2Te6/P(VDF-TrFE).

Data availability

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

Code availability

The codes used for plotting the data are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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C.G. acknowledges support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under award no. FA9550-22-1-0349, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division under award no. N00421-22-1-0001, Army Research Laboratory under cooperative agreement no. W911NF-19-2-0181, National Science Foundation under award nos. CMMI-2233592 and 49100423C0011, and Northrop Grumman Mission Systems’ University Research Program. I.Ž. acknowledges support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under award no. FA9550-22-1-0349 and National Science Foundation under award nos. CMMI-2233375 and ECCS-2130845. S.-J.G. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under award no. 62274066. J.-P.W. acknowledges support from the Robert F. Hartmann Endowed Chair Professorship. M.A.S. and B.S.C. acknowledge support from the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research LRIR 18RQCOR100 and AOARD-MOST grant no. F4GGA21207H002. B.S.C. further acknowledges the National Research Council Senior Fellowship award. C.G. is grateful for the fruitful discussions with J. Chang, R. Howell and Q. Zhang.

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Authors and Affiliations



C.G. conceived and supervised the project. S.L. conducted the exfoliation of 2D samples and device fabrication with the assistance of T.X. S.L. and T.X. performed the RMCD measurements under the supervision of C.G., with the assistance of Z.S. for the Raman spectroscopic measurements. N.A.B. conducted the capacitance measurements under the supervision of A.L.F. T.E. carried out the AFM measurements under the supervision of M.O. T.Z. conducted the DFT calculations under the supervision of I.Ž. M.A.S. and B.S.C. synthesized the bulk single crystals of Cr2Ge2Te6. S.-J.G. partially provided the understanding of the DFT method. J.-P.W. contributed to the potential spintronic-devices-related discussion. S.L. and C.G. analysed the data. S.L., J.L., X.Z. and C.G. wrote the paper. All the authors commented on the paper.

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Correspondence to Cheng Gong.

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Supplementary Figs. 1–9, figure notes and Note 1.

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Liang, S., Xie, T., Blumenschein, N.A. et al. Small-voltage multiferroic control of two-dimensional magnetic insulators. Nat Electron 6, 199–205 (2023).

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