Complex strain evolution of polar and magnetic order in multiferroic BiFeO3 thin films

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Journal Article




Electric-field control of magnetism requires deterministic control of the magnetic order and understanding of the magnetoelectric coupling in multiferroics like BiFeO3 and EuTiO3. Despite this critical need, there are few studies on the strain evolution of magnetic order in BiFeO3 films. Here, in (110)-oriented BiFeO3 films, we reveal that while the polarization structure remains relatively unaffected, strain can continuously tune the orientation of the antiferromagnetic-spin axis across a wide angular space, resulting in an unexpected deviation of the classical perpendicular relationship between the antiferromagnetic axis and the polarization. Calculations suggest that this evolution arises from a competition between the Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction and single-ion anisotropy wherein the former dominates at small strains and the two are comparable at large strains. Finally, strong coupling between the BiFeO3 and the ferromagnet Co0.9Fe0.1 exists such that the magnetic anisotropy of the ferromagnet can be effectively controlled by engineering the orientation of the antiferromagnetic-spin axis. © 2018, The Author(s).


Nature Communications



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