The manipulation of magnetic ordering with applied electric fields is of pressing interest for new magnetoelectric devices and information storage applications. Recently, such magnetoelectric control was realized in multiferroics. However, their magnetoelectric switching is often accompanied by significant hysteresis, resulting from a large barrier, separating different ferroic states. Hysteresis prevents robust switching, unless the applied field overcomes a certain value (coercive field). Here we address the role of a switching barrier on magnetoelectric control, and identify a material, collinear antiferromagnetic and pyroelectric Ni 3 TeO 6, in which magnetoelectric switching occurs without hysteresis. The barrier between two magnetic states in the vicinity of a spin-flop transition is almost flat, and thus small changes in external electric/magnetic fields allow to switch the ferroic state through an intermediate state in a continuous manner, resulting in a colossal magnetoelectric response. This colossal magnetoelectric effect resembles the large piezoelectric effect at the morphotropic phase boundary in ferroelectrics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)