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Multiferroic materials are at the core of voltage-controlled spintronic devices. Therefore, an understanding of the underlying electronic correlations and their effects associated with their complex energy landscape is an important and ongoing task. One key parameter in oxide-based perovskite multiferroics is their sensitivity to strain effects under confinement. Here, we report on the ferromagnetism induced by strain-engineering at the nanoscale on BiFeO(BFO) nanoparticles. By controlling synthesis parameters, we were able to modify the BFO lattice parameters up to 0.15% and as a consequence, induce ferromagnetism in otherwise antiferromagnetic bulk BFO. In order to understand the driving mechanisms behind such an effect, we performed density functional theory calculations (DFT) using the BFO parameters obtained from the experiment. We found that small distortions of the structural lattice parameters of the order of 0.01% are sufficient to induce a significant spin imbalance close to the Fermi energy at the Fe sites. This may explain the appearance of weak ferromagnetism in strained BFO thin films reported earlier and offers a new route to novel voltage-controlled spintronic devices based on multiferroic materials.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of physics. Condensed matter : an Institute of Physics journal
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