Room temperature magnetoelectric coupling in a molecular ferroelectric ytterbium(III) complex

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Science  07 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6478, pp. 671-676
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz2795

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Major-league magnetostriction

Magnetoelectric materials polarize in response to either electric or magnetic fields, making them attractive for data-storage applications. Long et al. discovered a ytterbium-based molecular magnetoelectric material with high magnetoelectric coupling (see the Perspective by Zhou and Han). An applied magnetic field strains the material, which changes its electrical properties. The required field is much lower than other magnetoelectric materials, and this work highlights the potential for using molecular materials in devices.

Science, this issue p. 671; see also p. 627


Magnetoelectric (ME) materials combine magnetic and electric polarizabilities in the same phase, offering a basis for developing high-density data storage and spintronic or low-consumption devices owing to the possibility of triggering one property with the other. Such applications require strong interaction between the constitutive properties, a criterion that is rarely met in classical inorganic ME materials at room temperature. We provide evidence of a strong ME coupling in a paramagnetic ferroelectric lanthanide coordination complex with magnetostrictive phenomenon. The properties of this molecular material suggest that it may be competitive with inorganic magnetoelectrics.

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