The ability to tune magnetic properties of solids via electric voltages instead of external magnetic fields is a physics curiosity of great scientific and technological importance. Today, there is strong published experimental evidence of electrical control of magnetic coercive fields in composite multiferroic solids. Unfortunately, the literature indicates highly contradictory results. In some studies, an applied voltage increases the magnetic coercive field and in other studies the applied voltage decreases the coercive field of composite multiferroics. Here, we provide an elegant explanation to this paradox and we demonstrate why all reported results are in fact correct. It is shown that for a given polarity of the applied voltage, the magnetic coercive field depends on the sign of two tensor components of the multiferroic solid: magnetostrictive and piezoelectric coefficient. For a negative applied voltage, the magnetic coercive field decreases when the two material parameters have the same sign and increases when they have opposite signs, respectively. The effect of the material parameters is reversed when the same multiferroic solid is subjected to a positive applied voltage.
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