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Researchers 'stretch' a lackluster material into a possible electronics revolution
Date:8/18/2010

peratures using the same materials-by-design strategy, the researchers said.

Other authors include David A. Muller, Cornell professor of applied and engineering physics; and first author June Hyuk Lee, a graduate student in Schlom's lab.

The researchers took an ultra-thin layer of the oxide and "stretched" it by placing it on top of the disprosium compound. The crystal structure of the europium titanate became strained because of its tendency to align itself with the underlying arrangement of atoms in the substrate.

Fennie's previous theoretical work had indicated that a different kind of material strain more akin to squishing by compression would also produce ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity. But the team discovered that the stretched europium compound displayed electrical properties 1,000 times better than the best-known ferroelectric/ferromagnetic material thus far, translating to thicker, higher-quality films.

This new approach to ferromagnetic ferroelectrics could prove a key step toward the development of next-generation memory storage, superb magnetic field sensors and many other applications long dreamed about. But commercial devices are a long way off; no devices have yet been made using this material. The Cornell experiment was conducted at an extremely cold temperature about 4 degrees Kelvin (-452 Fahrenheit). The team is already working on materials that are predicted to show such properties at much higher temperatures.


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Contact: Blaine Friedlander
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

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