"Crystal clear case of ferroics" was introduced in the article of Nature Index


Electric spontaneous polarization in YbFe2O4

Journal: Applied Physics Letters

Published: 2017-01-30

DOI: 10.1063/1.4974994

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 8


Research Highlight

Crystal clear case of ferroics

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.

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Applied Physics Letters 110, 052901 (2017). doi: 10.1063/1.4974994