Date of this Version
PHYSICAL REVIEW APPLIED 12, 024044 (2019).
Driven by the technological importance of the recently discovered ferroelectric HfO2, we explore a magnetoelectric effect at the HfO2-based ferroelectric-ferromagnetic interface. Using density-functionaltheory calculations of the Ni/HfO2/Ni (001) heterostructure as a model system, we predict a stable and sizable ferroelectric polarization in a few-nm-thick HfO2 layer. For the Ni/HfO2 interface with opposite polarization directions (pointing to or away from the interface), we find a sizable difference in the interfacial Ni—O bonding, resulting in dissimilar degrees of depletion of the electron density around the interface. The latter affects the relative population of the exchange-split majority and minority spin bands at the interface and thus the interfacial magnetic moments. The sizable change in the interface magnetization with ferroelectric polarization reversal of HfO2 manifests a significant ferroelectrically induced magnetoelectric effect at the Ni/HfO2 interface. Our results reveal promising prospects of ferroelectric-ferromagnetic composite multiferroics based on HfO2-based ferroelectric materials.