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Multiferroic thin films

The coexistence of several ferroic orders such as ferro-magnetism, ferro-electricity or piezo-electricity bears a huge potential for novel electronic devices. The deposition of multiferroics on thin films changes the balance between the different interactions as compared to bulk as epitaxial strain can be varied by the chosen substrate or because the range of the ordered structure in growth direction varies strongly from the ordering in-plane. Combining different ferroic materials in artificial structures often novel properties emerge at the interface.

The use of neutrons and x-rays as a probe combines the high resolution from an x-ray source and the high sensitivity to magnetism from neutron scattering. The contrast variation (including also resonant x-ray scattering) alows to resolve the subtle differences at the interfaces responsible for the huge physical effects, which make such systems interesting for applications. The picture shows a X-ray Resonant Magnetic Scattering Dichroism map of a thin TbMnO3 film. The measurement is sensitive to the helicity of the magnetic structure, which in turn determines the directions of the ferroelectric polarization.

A. Glavic et al., PHYSICAL REVIEW B 88, 054401 (2013)

Contact: Jörg Voigt

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