Stretching magnetism with an electric field in a nitride semiconductor

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Abstract

The significant inversion symmetry breaking specific to wurtzite semiconductors, and the associated spontaneous electrical polarization, lead to outstanding features such as high density of carriers at the GaN/(Al,Ga)N interface-exploited in high-power/high-frequency electronics-and piezoelectric capabilities serving for nanodrives, sensors and energy harvesting devices. Here we show that the multifunctionality of nitride semiconductors encompasses also a magnetoelectric effect allowing to control the magnetization by an electric field. We first demonstrate that doping of GaN by Mn results in a semi-insulating material apt to sustain electric fields as high as 5MVcm-1. Having such a material we find experimentally that the inverse piezoelectric effect controls the magnitude of the single-ion magnetic anisotropy specific to Mn3+ ions in GaN. The corresponding changes in the magnetization can be quantitatively described by a theory developed here.

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Sztenkiel, D., Foltyn, M., Mazur, G. P., Adhikari, R., Kosiel, K., Gas, K., … Dietl, T. (2016). Stretching magnetism with an electric field in a nitride semiconductor. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13232

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