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Chemistry and Physics at Interfaces

LuFeO3: a new room-temperature multiferroic material


Atomically resolved scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) image of LuFeO3, a new room-temperature multiferroic. Red dots indicate the “buckling” of the Lu oxide plane, consistent with the polar structure.

Atomically resolved scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) image of LuFeO3, a new room-temperature multiferroic. Red dots indicate the “buckling” of the Lu oxide plane, consistent with the polar structure.  

Hexagonal LuFeO3 is discovered to be the second example of a room temperature multiferroic material. The coexistence and coupling of ferroelectric and magnetic orders promises new opportunities and improvements in next generation applications for information technology, sensing, and actuation. For widespread implementation of such technologies, a coexistence of long-range magnetic and electric orders at room temperature is required; for decades, BiFeO3 has been the only material known to exhibit ferroelectricity and antiferromagnetic order above room temperature. It is shown here that LuFeO3 is ferroelectric and antiferromagnetic with a significant ferromagnetic component due to spin canting. Neutron scattering and scanning transmission electron microscopy indicate that the symmetry in this system allows for a stronger coupling between magnetic and ferroelectric orders than in BiFeO3, which will help in identifying new directions for the discovery and manipulation of other room temperature multiferroics.

W. Wang, J. Zhao, W. Wang, Z. Gai,  N. Balke, M. Chi, H. N. Lee, W. Tian, L. Zhu, X. Cheng, D. J. Keavney, J. Yi, T. Z. Ward, P. C. Snijders, H. M. Christen, W. Wu, J. Shen, and X. Xu, “Room-temperature multiferroic hexagonal LuFeO3 films,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 237601 (2013).

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