Department of Physics and Astronomy: Publications and Other Research


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Published in PHYSICAL REVIEW B 78, 184414 (2008). Copyright ©2008 The American Physical Society. Used by permission.


Recent experimental and theoretical studies of the magnetoelectric (ME) effect in the nanocomposite structures and in laminates show an enhanced ME coefficient. These materials combine piezoelectric properties of the paramagnetic phase and piezomagnetic properties of the magnetic phase. We propose to fabricate heterostructures formed by piezoelectric materials and magnetic antiperovskites as magnetoelectric materials. We show that the magnetic structure of antiperovskite, such as Mn3GaN, can be controlled by a small applied biaxial strain. The lowering of symmetry with the strain causes the local magnetic moments of Mn atoms to rotate from the trigonal Γ5g structure with symmetric curl of spin density in the (111) plane to a monoclinic symmetry structure. As a result, an appreciable net magnetization appears in the strained system.

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