New paper published:
Multiferroics (MFs) have attracted great research interest due to the coexistence of ferroelectric and magnetic ordering, as well as magnetoelectric (ME) coupling. At present, there is a very limited number of single-phase MFs known and these are still far from practical applications. In single-phase MFs, the simultaneous presence of electric and magnetic dipoles does not guarantee strong (ME) coupling, as the microscopic mechanisms of ferroelectricity and magnetism are quite different and do not intrinsically interact with each other. Here we show that in the ceramic system, Bi3.25La0.75Ti32xNbx(Fe0.5Co0.5)xO12, the x = 0.25 composition is ferroelectrically and ferromagnetically active at room temperature. A single- phase structure is supported by XRD, SEM/EDX and neutron diffraction data. Clear ME couplings were observed in this single-phase material at room temperature, where the magnetic iron and cobalt ions contribute to ferroelectric polarization and magnetic moment simultaneously. The results of structural, electrical and magnetic measurements are supported by first principle calculations. This material represents one of the first truly single phase bulk ceramics that exhibits multiferroic behaviour at room temperature and its discovery will help to guide the design of room temperature single-phase MFs with strong ME coupling for sensors and solid-state memory applications.