Theory of magnetic-field-induced polarization flop in spin-spiral multiferroics

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Abstract

The magnetic-field-induced 90flop of ferroelectric polarization P in a spin-spiral multiferroic material TbMnO3 is theoretically studied based on a microscopic spin model. I find that the direction of the P flop or the choice of +Pa or -Pa after the flop is governed by magnetic torques produced by the applied magnetic field H acting on the Mn spins and thus is selected in a deterministic way, in contradistinction to the naively anticipated probabilistic flop. This mechanism resolves a puzzle of the previously reported memory effect in the P direction depending on the history of the magnetic-field sweep, and enables controlled switching of multiferroic domains by externally applied magnetic fields. My Monte-Carlo analysis also uncovers that the magnetic structure in the P-a phase under H-b is not a previously anticipated simple ab-plane spin cycloid but a conical spin structure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number224104
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume92
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 8
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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