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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