Electric-Field Induced Reversible Switching of the Magnetic Easy Axis in Co/BiFeO3 on SrTiO3

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nano Letters, American Chemical Society, Volume 17, Number 5, p.2825-2832 (2017)


Electric-field (E-field) control of magnetism enabled by multiferroic materials has the potential to revolutionize the landscape of present memory devices plagued with high energy dissipation. To date, this E-field controlled multiferroic scheme has only been demonstrated at room temperature using BiFeO3 films grown on DyScO3, a unique and expensive substrate, which gives rise to a particular ferroelectric domain pattern in BiFeO3. Here, we demonstrate reversible electric-field-induced switching of the magnetic state of the Co layer in Co/BiFeO3 (BFO) (001) thin film heterostructures fabricated on (001) SrTiO3 (STO) substrates. The angular dependence of the coercivity and the remanent magnetization of the Co layer indicates that its easy axis reversibly switches back and forth 45° between the (100) and the (110) crystallographic directions of STO as a result of alternating application of positive and negative voltage pulses between the patterned top Co electrode layer and the (001) SrRuO3 (SRO) layer on which the ferroelectric BFO is epitaxially grown. The coercivity (HC) of the Co layer exhibits a hysteretic behavior between two states as a function of voltage. A mechanism based on the intrinsic magnetoelectric coupling in multiferroic BFO involving projection of antiferromagnetic G-type domains is used to explain the observation. We have also measured the exact canting angle of the G-type domain in strained BFO films for the first time using neutron diffraction. These results suggest a pathway to integrating BFO-based devices on Si wafers for implementing low power consumption and nonvolatile magnetoelectronic devices. © 2017 American Chemical Society.


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