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Title: Pinning, rotation, and metastability of BiFeO 3 cycloidal domains in a magnetic field

Earlier models for the room-temperature multiferroic BiFeO 3 implicitly assumed that a very strong anisotropy restricts the domain wave vectors q to the threefold-symmetric axis normal to the static polarization P. However, recent measurements demonstrate that the domain wave vectors q rotate within the hexagonal plane normal to P away from the magnetic field orientation m. In this paper, we show that the previously neglected threefold anisotropy K 3 restricts the wave vectors to lie along the threefold axis in zero field. Taking m to lie along a threefold axis, the domain with q parallel to m remains metastable below B c1≈7 T. Due to the pinning of domains by nonmagnetic impurities, the wave vectors of the other two domains start to rotate away from m above 5.6 T, when the component of the torque τ=M×B along P exceeds a threshold value τ pin. Since τ=0 when m⊥q, the wave vectors of those domains never become completely perpendicular to the magnetic field. Our results explain recent measurements of the critical field as a function of field orientation, small-angle neutron scattering measurements of the wave vectors, as well as spectroscopic measurements with m along a threefold axis. Finally, the model developedmore » in this paper also explains how the three multiferroic domains of BiFeO 3 for a fixed P can be manipulated by a magnetic field.« less
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Materials Science and Technology Division
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review B
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 97; Journal Issue: 1; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2018-01-04 07:01:16; Journal ID: ISSN 2469-9950
American Physical Society (APS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: