Orthorhombic RMnO3 (R = rare-earth cation) compounds are type-II multiferroics induced by inversion-symmetry-breaking of spin order. They hold promise for magneto-electric devices. However, no spontaneous room-temperature ferroic property has been observed to date in orthorhombic RMnO3. Here, using 3D straining in nanocomposite films of (SmMnO3)0.5((Bi,Sm)2O3)0.5, we demonstrate room temperature ferroelectricity and ferromagnetism with TC,FM ~ 90 K, matching exactly with theoretical predictions for the induced strain levels. Large in-plane compressive and out-of-plane tensile strains (−3.6% and +4.9%, respectively) were induced by the stiff (Bi,Sm)2O3 nanopillars embedded. The room temperature electric polarization is comparable to other spin-driven ferroelectric RMnO3 films. Also, while bulk SmMnO3 is antiferromagnetic, ferromagnetism was induced in the composite films. The Mn-O bond angles and lengths determined from density functional theory explain the origin of the ferroelectricity, i.e. modification of the exchange coupling. Our structural tuning method gives a route to designing multiferroics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)