Nanostructured multiferroic materials for efficient energy consumption in electronic devices

In memory devices, an electric current is passed through a coil in order to generate a magnetic field that reverses the orientation of magnetization in a storage bit. This process produces energy waste in the form of heat due to ohmic resistance. Due to the ever growing number of large data centres worldwide, such an inefficient form of power consumption by hardware facilities (and the accompanying energetic expenditure by cooling systems) is aggravating on the world scale the problem of energy sustainability. In multiferroics, however, it is possible to induce the unusual response of reversing the magnetization and electrical polarisation by using small electric fields. Exploitation of such a magnetoelectric coupling in electronic devices will make it possible to store information with minimal power consumption and energy waste. By working at the frontier of complex nanostructured materials, we will design novel multiferroic nanomaterials with enhanced magnetoelectric properties

Principal investigator

Claudio Cazorla
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Area of science

Energy and Resources

Systems used


Applications used

Partner Institution: UNSW Sydney| Project Code: pawsey0228

The Challenge

The overarching objective of this project is to investigate a number of promising strategies for the enhancement of the magnetoelectric features found in BiFeO3 and other emergent multiferroic materials (e.g., BiCoO3-BiFeO3 solid solutions, and SrCoO3) by using state-of-the-art first-principles methods based on density functional theory.

The Solution

The solution to this challenging problem consists in exploring the physical behaviour of several multiferroic (e.g., BiCoO3-BiFeO3 solid solutions, and SrCoO3) and other similar compounds under the application of thermodynamic, mechanical and electrical potential bias. In particular, density functional theory methods can be employed to estimate the structural, vibrational and phase competition properties of such materials under external fields and different thermodynamic conditions.

The Outcome

Thanks to the Pawsey Centre’s resources, it has been possible to perform highly accurate and at the same time computationally very intensive geometry optimizations and lattice phonons calculations for a number of magnetic and ferroelectric oxide perovskites considering different phases. The phonon calculations have allowed to assess the phase competition between different compounds polymorphs under realistic non-zero temperature conditions