Electric field control of natural optical activity in a multiferroic helimagnet

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Science  30 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6541, pp. 496-500
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz4312

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An optically active spiral

The material cupric oxide exhibits magnetoelectric coupling, meaning that its magnetic properties can be controlled by electric fields. In its spin spiral phase, cupric oxide has a spiral magnetic ordering that can be right- or left-handed. Masuda et al. used electric fields to create purely left- or right-handed samples and then studied their optical activity. The samples exhibited natural optical activity, which the researchers were then able to control with electric fields.

Science, this issue p. 496

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