Researchers Discovered New Properties of Ferroelectric Crystal

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Researchers discovered new properties of ferroelectric crystal, according to a study published on July 10, 2018.

This study was conducted by a team of researchers from China. They characterized one type of hybrid improper ferroelectric, Ca3Mn2O7 and investigated about the material’s ferroelectric, magnetoelectric, and optical properties. They were able to demonstrate ferroelectricity in Ca3Mn2O7 as well as coupling between its magnetism and ferroelectricity.

One of the major distinguishing feature of these materials is that this polarization can be reversed by using an external electric field. Unlike conventional ferroelectrics that directly derive their properties from polar distortions in the lattice of the material’s crystal, polarization from a combination of nonpolar distortions are generated by hybrid improper ferroelectrics.

Shuai Dong, an author on the paper, said, “Multiple transitions as well as phase separations were evidenced in Ca3Mn2O7, making it more complex than the early theoretical expectations. This material is complex, and the leakage is serious, which prevents the direct measurement of its ferroelectricity in high temperature.”

Pyroelectric measurements were used by the researchers to confirm the material’s ferroelectricity and further understand Ca3Mn2O7. Pyroelectric measurements examine its electric properties across a range of temperatures as well as measured Ca3Mn2O7’s ferroelectric hysteresis loops. Through further investigation, it was found that Ca3Mn2O7 exhibits a weak ferromagnetism that can be modulated by an electric field.

It was found that Ca3Mn2O7 also exhibited strong visible light absorption in a band gap well suited for photoelectric devices. Therefore, in the future, the research team is planning to explore photoelectric properties of Ca3Mn2O7 as well as investigate whether introducing iron to the crystal would enhance its magnetism.

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