I. Fina, N. Dix, J. M. Rebled, P. Gemeiner, X. Martí, F. Peiró, B. Dkhil, F. Sánchez, L. Fàbrega and J. Fontcuberta
Published at : Nanoscale, 2013, 5, 8037–8044 | 8037
Ferroelectric (FE) and ferromagnetic (FM) materials engineered in horizontal heterostructures allow interface-mediated magnetoelectric coupling. The so-called converse magnetoelectric effect (CME) has been already demonstrated by electric-field poling of the ferroelectric layers and subsequent modification of the magnetic state of adjacent ferromagnetic layers by strain effects and/or free-carrier density tuning. Here we focus on the direct magnetoelectric effect (DME) where the dielectric state of a ferroelectric thin film is modified by a magnetic field. Ferroelectric BaTiO3 (BTO) and ferromagnetic CoFe2O4 (CFO) oxide thin films have been used to create epitaxial FE/FM and FM/FE heterostructures on SrTiO3(001) substrates buffered with metallic SrRuO3. It will be shown that large ferroelectric polarization and DME can be obtained by appropriate selection of the stacking order of the FE and FM films and their relative thicknesses. The dielectric permittivity, at the structural transitions of BTO, is strongly modified (up to 36%) when measurements are performed under a magnetic field. Due to the insulating nature of the ferromagnetic layer and the concomitant absence of the electric-field effect, the observed DME effect solely results from the magnetostrictive response of CFO elastically coupled to the BTO layer. These findings show that appropriate architecture and materials selection allow overcoming substrate-induced clamping in multiferroic multi-layered films.