Purely voltage-driven, repeatable magnetization reversal provides a tantalizing potential for the development of spintronic devices with a minimum amount of power consumption. Substantial progress has been made in this subject especially on magnetic/ferroelectric heterostructures. Here, we report the in situ observation of such phenomenon in a NiFe thin film grown directly on a rhombohedral Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)0.7Ti0.3O3 (PMN-PT) ferroelectric crystal. Under a cyclic voltage applied perpendicular to the PMN-PT without a magnetic field, the local magnetization of NiFe can be repetitively reversed through an out-of-plane excursion and then back into the plane. Using phase field simulations we interpret magnetization reversal as a synergistic effect of the metastable ferroelastic switching in the PMN-PT and an electrically rotatable local exchange bias field arising from the heterogeneously distributed NiO clusters at the interface.
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