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Magnetization vector manipulation by electric fields
D. Chiba, M. Sawicki, Y. Nishitani, Y. Nakatani, F. Matsukura & H. Ohno

Conventional semiconductor devices use electric fields to control conductivity, a scalar quantity, for information processing. In magnetic materials, the direction of magnetization, a vector quantity, is of fundamental importance. In magnetic data storage, magnetization is manipulated with a current-generated magnetic field (Oersted–Ampère field), and spin current is being studied for use in non-volatile magnetic memories. To make control of magnetization fully compatible with semiconductor devices, it is highly desirable to control magnetization using electric fields. Conventionally, this is achieved by means of magnetostriction produced by mechanically generated strain through the use of piezoelectricity. Multiferroics have been widely studied in an alternative approach where ferroelectricity is combined with ferromagnetism. Magnetic-field control of electric polarization has been reported in these multiferroics using the magnetoelectric effect, but the inverse effect—direct electrical control of magnetization—has not so far been observed. Here we show that the manipulation of magnetization can be achieved solely by electric fields in a ferromagnetic semiconductor, (Ga,Mn)As. The magnetic anisotropy, which determines the magnetization direction, depends on the charge carrier (hole) concentration in (Ga,Mn)As. By applying an electric field using a metal–insulator–semiconductor structure, the hole concentration and, thereby, the magnetic anisotropy can be controlled, allowing manipulation of the magnetization direction.

Texto completo em http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v455/n7212/full/nature07318.html
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