The novel memory effect of a nonpolar paraelectric phase with a collinear spin structure has been observed in a magnetoelectric multiferroic material MnWO4. Since the ferroelectric polarization arises from a noncollinear spin structure, in a new class of magnetoelectric multiferroic materials with a spiral-spin structure, the information of ferroelectric domains should be lost in the collinear spin phase. However, in MnWO4, it has been found that the domain states in the ferroelectric phase are memorized even in the nonpolar phase with a collinear spin structure, when the phase transition is of the first-order type. Here we demonstrate a magnetoelectric memory effect that the ferroelectric single-domain state can be reproduced from the paraelectric phase by a magnetic field. We propose the nuclei growth model, in which the small ferroelectric embryos keep the polarization state in the nonpolar collinear spin phase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)