Electric Field Control of Ferromagnetism and Magnetic Devices Using Multiferroics
This dissertation presents a study of a heterostructure composed of room temperature magnetoelectric multiferroic BiFeO3 and ferromagnetic Co90Fe10, with specific interest in understanding the interfacial coupling mechanisms in this system and establishing the electric field control of a magnetization and spintronic devices. The field of spintronics has been plagued with the problem of a large energy dissipation as a consequence of the resistive losses that come during the writing of the magnetic state (i.e. reversing the magnetization direction). The primary aim of the work presented here is to investigate and understand a novel heterostructure and materials interface that can be demonstrated as a pathway to low energy spintronics.
In this dissertation, I will address the specific aspects of multiferroicity, magnetoelectricity, and interface coupling that must be addressed in order to reverse a magnetization with an electric field. Furthermore, I will demonstrate the reversal of a magnetization
with an electric field in single and multilayer magnetic devices. The primary advances made as a result of the work described herein are the use of epitaxial constraints to control the nanoscale domain structure of a multiferroic which is then correlated to the domain structure of the exchange coupled ferromagnet. Additionally, the magnetization direction of the ferromagnetic layer is controlled with only an applied electric field at both macroscopic and microscopic scales. Lastly, using this electric field control of ferromagnetism, the first demonstration of a magnetoelectric memory bit is presented.