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Electric spontaneous polarization in YbFe2O4

Journal: Applied Physics Letters

Published: 2017-01-30

DOI: 10.1063/1.4974994

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 8

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Research Highlight

Crystal clear case of ferroics

© Cláudio Policarpo/EyeEm/Getty

© Cláudio Policarpo/EyeEm/Getty

Ferroelectricity has been observed in ytterbium ferrite (YbFe2O4) – a rare-earth element combined with iron oxide – for the first time.

It had been assumed that the properties of magnetic materials are fixed, but in some materials an electric field can switch the position of positive and negative elements, thereby reversing the polarization. A team including researchers from Okayama University grew a pure crystal of YbFe2O4 without any heat treatment that could alter its electric properties. They used x-ray diffraction to confirm the original polarization of ions in the iron layers. Applying an electric field reversed the ions polarization, confirming that YbFe2O4 is ferroelectric.

This finding could lead to the development of new multiferroic materials whose electric and magnetic field can be reversed with the flick of a switch.

Supported content

  1. Applied Physics Letters 110, 052901 (2017). doi: 10.1063/1.4974994
Institutions Share
Department of Physics, Okayama University, Japan 0.44
Laboratoire Structures, Propriétés et Modélisation des Solides (SPMS), France 0.31
Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials (IMRAM), Tohoku University, Japan 0.13
College of Science and Technology (CST), Nihon University, Japan 0.06
Laboratoire Léon Brillouin (LLB), France 0.06