New Routes to Optimised Multiferroics

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


Many materials which are used in sensor and data storage technology use effects associated with the alignment of atomic electric or magnetic moments. There are fundamental reasons for thinking that materials should either have electric order (called ferroelectric order) or magnetic order (called ferromagnetic order), but not both. However certain materials, called multiferroics, break this rule and do show both effects, and therefore have some rather intriguing properties. Ferromagnetic order can then be controlled by an electric field, or ferroelectric order can be controlled by a magnetic field. This could have a revolutionary effect on sensors and data storage applications, but multiferroics are poorly understood. This proposal represents an interdisciplinary collaboration (Physics, Chemistry, Materials) between Oxford, UCL and Imperial, which aims to use a combination of experimental techniques to solve this problem. By using this combination of state-of-the-art methods, neutrons, x-rays, muons, magnetometry, magnetodielectric measurements and electron microscopy, we have the possibility of gaining new understanding in this complex problem which we hope to feed in to the design of optimised materials for future applications.


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