Thickness-dependent crossover from charge- to strain-mediated magnetoelectric coupling in ferromagnetic/piezoelectric oxide heterostructures

Steven R. Spurgeon, Jennifer D. Sloppy, Despoina Maria Kepaptsoglou, Prasanna V. Balachandran, Siamak Nejati, J. Karthik, Anoop R. Damodaran, Craig L. Johnson, Hailemariam Ambaye, Richard Goyette, Valeria Lauter, Quentin M. Ramasse, Juan Carlos Idrobo, Kenneth K.S. Lau, Samuel E. Lofland, James M. Rondinelli, Lane W. Martin, Mitra L. Taheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Magnetoelectric oxide heterostructures are proposed active layers for spintronic memory and logic devices, where information is conveyed through spin transport in the solid state. Incomplete theories of the coupling between local strain, charge, and magnetic order have limited their deployment into new information and communication technologies. In this study, we report direct, local measurements of strain- and charge-mediated magnetization changes in the La0.7Sr0.3MnO3/PbZr0.2Ti 0.8O3 system using spatially resolved characterization techniques in both real and reciprocal space. Polarized neutron reflectometry reveals a graded magnetization that results from both local structural distortions and interfacial screening of bound surface charge from the adjacent ferroelectric. Density functional theory calculations support the experimental observation that strain locally suppresses the magnetization through a change in the Mn-eg orbital polarization. We suggest that this local coupling and magnetization suppression may be tuned by controlling the manganite and ferroelectric layer thicknesses, with direct implications for device applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-903
Number of pages10
JournalACS nano
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 28 2014


  • magnetoelectrics
  • polarized neutron reflectometry
  • spintronics
  • strain engineering
  • transmission electron microscopy


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