Discovery by NANOMOTION collaboration might help to enable the next generation of processor and memory devices

Through the collaboration of NANOMOTION scientists from University of Leeds and University of Duisburg-Essen, novel so-called multiferroic clusters were recently discovered. Results were published as a featured article in the prestigious journal Advanced Functional Materials. These nanosized regions have the ability to switch their magnetic orientation via application of an electric field, which is called magnetoelectric (ME) coupling. This ability could be used for the next generation of processor and memory devices, since it reduces the energy consumption drastically, which is one of the main obstacles for current technologies. It has been termed by leading scientist as the “holy grail” of research on materials for computing. The research was led by ESR 6, Leonard Henrichs, mainly at the University of Leeds. He was able to show that the ME coupling coefficient is the largest ever measured for a single phase multiferroic, using a combination of dedicated atomic force microscopy techniques, capable of mapping magnetic and electronic structures. The coupling ability of those clusters arises from the fact that they are both ferroelectric and strongly magnetic, which is extremely rare especially for materials above room-temperature. It is assumed that the strong magnetism arises from a ferrimagnetic order of Fe and Co atoms.

By revealing strong magnetoelectric coupling in a single phase multiferroic using scanning probe techniques such as piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) and magnetic force microscopy (MFM), the main goal of the project of ESR 6 was achieved.

The frontispiece shows the ferroelectric and magnetic structure of a multiferroic cluster which was mapped via atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques. The electric polarization P and magnetization M are linked to each other and are both switched by the application of an electric field applied using the tip of the AFM which is illustrated schematically.

Henrichs_et_al-2016-Advanced_Functional_Materials, Frontispiece

Frontispiece: Henrichs, L. F., Cespedes, O., Bennett, J., Landers, J.,Salamon, S., Heuser, C., Hansen, T., Helbig, T., Gutfleisch, O., Lupascu, D. C., Wende, H., Kleemann, W. and Bell, A. J. (2016),Multiferroic Clusters: A New Perspective for Relaxor-Type Room-Temperature Multiferroics. Adv. Funct. Mater., 26: 2111–2121. Copyright Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. Reproduced with permission.


Several ESRs researchers have recently received their PhD degree.

Congratulations to all and best wishes for future works.

December, 2015

  • Harsh Trivedi (ESR 7) successfully defended his thesis entitled “Mapping local manifestations of the strain mediated magnetoelectric effect in composites” on  9th December, 2015 at Duisburg-Essen University (Essen, Germany). His work was done under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Doru C. Lupascu and  Prof. Dr. Kathrin Doerr.

November, 2015

  •  Leonard Frederic Henrichs (ESR 6) successfully defended his thesis entitled “Magnetoelectric coupling in single phase multiferroics at room temperature via scanning probe microscopy” on 16th November, 2015 at the University of Leeds, (Leeds, UK).  The supervisor of his work was Prof. Andrew J. Bell.
  • Sabine M. Neumayer (ESR 12) received PhD in Physics November 5, 2015 at University College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland). Title of her thesis is “Interface modulated charge transport and ferroelectric switching in lithium niobate”. Supervisors were Dr. Brian Rodriguez and Dr. Andrei Kholkin.

October, 2015

  •  Hugues-Yanis Amanieu  (ESR 10) successfully defended his thesis entitledNanomechanics of Li-ion battery materials” on 20th October, 2015 at  Duisburg-Essen University (Essen, Germany) and received PhD  in Engineering (Dr.-Ing.) His work was done under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Doru C. Lupascu and  Prof. Dr. Marc Kamlah (KIT).

July, 2015

  •  Ensieh Seyedhosseini (ESR 8) defended her thesis entitledPiezoelectricity and ferroelectricity in amino acid glycine” on 30th July, 2015 at University of Aveiro (Aveiro, Portugal). The supervisors of her work were Dr. Andrei Kholkin and Dr. Brian Rodriguez.
  • Danka Gobeljic (ESR 2) received PhD in Material Science on 17th July, 2015 at Duisburg-Essen University (Essen, Germany), where she successfully defended the thesis “Polar Microstructure and Nanoscale Electromechanical Behavior of Lead-Free Piezoelectric Ceramics”. The supervisors were Prof. Dr. Doru C. Lupascu and Dr. Andrei Kholkin.

June, 2015

  •  Sergey Luchkin (ESR 11) defended his thesis entitled “Local probing of Li+ diffusion and concentration in Li-ion battery materials by scanning probe microscopy” on 25th June, 2015 at University of Aveiro (Aveiro, Portugal). The supervisor of his work was Dr. Andrei Kholkin.

May, 2015

  •  Kate Ryan (ESR 9) defended her thesis entitled “Electromechanical properties of bio-inspired peptide nanostructures; advancing such structures for biomedical engineering applications” on 22nd  May, 2015 at University College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland). The supervisors of her work  were Dr. Brian Rodriguez and Dr. Andrei Kholkin.