Multiferroic Thesis

The most obvious route is to use a rare-earth ion with a partially filled shell of f electrons on the A site.An example is Eu Ti O It remains a challenge to develop good single-phase multiferroics with large magnetization and polarization and strong coupling between them at room temperature.

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Like the geometric ferroelectrics discussed above, the ferroelectricity is improper, because the polarisation is not the primary order parameter (in this case the primary order is the magnetisation) for the ferroic phase transition.

The prototypical example is the formation of the non-centrosymmetric magnetic spiral state, accompanied by a small ferroelectric polarization, below 28K in Tb Mn O, because the mechanism coupling the non-centrosymmetric spin structure to the crystal lattice is the weak spin-orbit coupling.

While magnetoelectric materials are not necessarily multiferroic, all ferromagnetic ferroelectric multiferroics are linear magnetoelectrics, with an applied electric field inducing a change in magnetization linearly proportional to its magnitude.

Magnetoelectric materials and the corresponding magnetoelectric effect have a longer history than multiferroics, shown in blue in the graph to the right.

The first known mention of magnetoelectricity is in the 1959 Edition of Landau & Lifshitz' Electrodynamics of Continuous Media which has the following comment at the end of the section on piezoelectricity: “Let us point out two more phenomena, which, in principle, could exist.

One is piezomagnetism, which consists of linear coupling between a magnetic field in a solid and a deformation (analogous to piezoelectricity).

The multiferroic phase is reached at ~100K when a triangular antiferromagnetic order due to spin frustration arises.

Charge ordering can occur in compounds containing ions of mixed valence when the electrons, which are delocalised at high temperature, localize in an ordered pattern on different cation sites so that the material becomes insulating.

While ferroelectric ferroelastics and ferromagnetic ferroelastics are formally multiferroics, these days the term is usually used to describe the magnetoelectric multiferroics that are simultaneously ferromagnetic and ferroelectric.

Sometimes the definition is expanded to include non-primary order parameters, such as antiferromagnetism or ferrimagnetism. This work explained the origin of the contraindication between magnetism and ferroelectricity and proposed practical routes to circumvent it, and is widely credited with starting the modern explosion of interest in multiferroic materials.


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