Condensed-Matter Physics: Multitasking Materials from Atomic Templates

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nature, Volume 537, Issue 7621, p.499 - 500 (2016)

Date Published:



Two 'failed' materials can perform much better when united. Such a combination exhibits magnetization and electric polarization up to room temperature, providing a basis for new magnetoelectric devices. See Letter p.523

Materials in which the electric dipoles or magnetic moments associated with atoms, ions or molecules are ordered are of immense technological value. Multiferroic materials unite these two types of order in a single material and are therefore highly desirable. However, because simultaneous electric and magnetic order is difficult to achieve, multiferroics — especially those that function at or approaching room temperature — are extremely rare. On page 523, Mundy et al. detail an effort to build such a material. Remarkably, they achieved this by combining two 'failed' multiferroics, forming a new compound with excellent multiferroic properties.


Associated Content

Atomically Engineered Ferroic Layers Yield a Room-Temperature Magnetoelectric Multiferroic
Julia A. Mundy, Charles M. Brooks, Megan E. Holtz, Jarrett A. Moyer, Hena Das, Alejandro F. Rébola, John T. Heron, James D. Clarkson, Steven M. Disseler, Zhiqi Liu, Alan Farhan, Rainer Held, Robert Hovden, Elliot Padgett, Qingyun Mao, Hanjong Paik, Rajiv Misra, Lena F. Kourkoutis, Elke Arenholz, Andreas Scholl, Julie A. Borchers, William D. Ratcliff, Ramamoorthy Ramesh, Craig J. Fennie, Peter Schiffer, David A. Muller & Darrell G. Schlom

Nature 537, 523–527 (22 September 2016) doi:10.1038/nature19343