Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Researchers 'stretch' a lackluster material into a possible electronics revolution

Researchers 'stretch' a lackluster material into a possible electronics revolution: "Researchers report that thin films of europium titanate become both ferroelectric (electrically polarized) and ferromagnetic (exhibiting a permanent magnetic field) when stretched across a substrate of dysprosium scandate, another type of oxide. The best simultaneously ferroelectric, ferromagnetic material to date pales in comparison by a factor of 1,000.
Simultaneous ferroelectricity and ferromagnetism is rare in nature and coveted by electronics visionaries. A material with this magical combination could form the basis for low-power, highly sensitive magnetic memory, magnetic sensors or highly tunable microwave devices.
The search for ferromagnetic ferroelectrics dates back to 1966, when the first such compound - a nickel boracite - was discovered. Since then, scientists have found a few additional ferromagnetic ferroelectrics, but none stronger than the nickel compound - that is, until now.

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