Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Nature Communications, Volume 6, p.5959 (2015)
In numerous systems, giant physical responses have been discovered when two phases coexist; for example, near a phase transition. An intermetallic FeRh system undergoes a first-order antiferromagnetic to ferromagnetic transition above room temperature and shows two-phase coexistence near the transition. Here we have investigated the effect of an electric field to FeRh/PMN-PT heterostructures and report 8% change in the electrical resistivity of FeRh films. Such a ‘giant’ electroresistance (GER) response is striking in metallic systems, in which external electric fields are screened, and thus only weakly influence the carrier concentrations and mobilities. We show that our FeRh films comprise coexisting ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic phases with different resistivities and the origin of the GER effect is the strain-mediated change in their relative proportions. The observed behaviour is reminiscent of colossal magnetoresistance in perovskite manganites and illustrates the role of mixed-phase coexistence in achieving large changes in physical properties with low-energy external perturbation.