Phase Coexistence in Multiferroic BiFeO3

Dan Ferenc Segedin : Physics major

Mentor: Ramamoorthy Ramesh

In many materials, the application of an electric field leads to a separation of positive and negative charges, inducing a “polarization” in the material. In ferroelectrics, such a polarization exists in the material without the application of an external field. Analogously, the alignment of electron spins in ferromagnetic materials results in a magnetic polarization in the absence of an external magnetic field. Bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) is a rare material in which both of these states exist at room temperature and are coupled: applying an external electric field can switch the magnetization and vice-versa. Using pulsed laser deposition, Dan will synthesize ultrathin films of BiFeO3 and aims to demonstrate reversible switching between the material’s structural ground states; functionality that has the potential to be used in next-generation low-power memory storage devices.