Spatially Resolved Large Magnetization in Ultrathin BiFeO3

Here, a quantitative magnetic depth profile across the planar interfaces in BiFeO3 /La0.7 Sr0.3 MnO3 (BFO/LSMO) superlattices using polarized neutron reflectometry is obtained. An enhanced magnetization of 1.83 ± 0.16 μB /Fe in BFO layers is observed when they are interleaved between two manganite layers. The enhanced magnetic order in BFO persists up to 200 K. The depth dependence of magnetic moments in BFO/LSMO superlattices as a function of the BFO layer thickness is also explored. The results show the enhanced net magnetic moment in BFO from the LSMO/BFO interface extends 3-4 unit cells into BFO. The interior part of a thicker BFO layer has a much smaller magnetization, suggesting it still keeps the small canted AFM state. The results exclude charge transfer, intermixing, epitaxial strain, and octahedral rotations/tilts as dominating mechanisms for the large net magnetization in BFO. An explanation-one suggested by others previously and consistent with the observations-attributes the temperature dependence of the net magnetization of BFO to strong orbital hybridization between Fe and Mn across the interfaces. Such orbital reconstruction would establish an upper temperature limit for magnetic ordering of BFO.

Guo E-J, Petrie JR, Roldan MA, Li Q, Desautels RD, et al. (2017) Spatially Resolved Large Magnetization in Ultrathin BiFeO3 . Advanced Materials 29: 1700790. Available:

The authors thank Xiang Gao, Yaohua Liu, Thomas O. Farmer, Eun Ju Moon, T. Zac Ward, and Changhee Sohn for valuable discussions. This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science (OS), Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Materials Sciences and Engineering Division (sample design, fabrication, and physical property characterization) and by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U. S. DOE (PNR). The research at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source was sponsored by the Scientific User Facilities Division, BES, U.S. DOE. Use of the Advanced Photon Source, an OS User Facility operated for the U.S. DOE, OS by Argonne National Laboratory, was supported by the U.S. DOE. PFM measurements were performed at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, which is sponsored at ORNL by the Scientific User Facilities Division, BES, U.S. DOE.


Advanced Materials


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