The study of abrupt increases in magnetization with magnetic field known as metamagnetic transitions has opened a rich vein of new physics in itinerant electron systems, including the discovery of quantum critical end points with a marked propensity to develop new kinds of order. However, the electric analogue of the metamagnetic critical end point, a "metaelectric" critical end point, has been rarely studied. Multiferroic materials wherein magnetism and ferroelectricity are cross-coupled are ideal candidates for the exploration of this novel possibility using magnetic-field (H) as a tuning parameter. Herein, we report the discovery of a magnetic-field-induced metaelectric transition in multiferroic BiMn2O5, in which the electric polarization (P) switches polarity along with a concomitant Mn spin-flop transition at a critical magnetic field Hc. The simultaneous metaelectric and spin-flop transitions become sharper upon cooling but remain a continuous cross-over even down to 0.5 K. Near the P = 0 line realized at μ0Hc ≈18 T below 20 K, the dielectric constant (ε) increases significantly over wide field and temperature (T) ranges. Furthermore, a characteristic power-law behavior is found in the P(H) and ε(H) curves at T = 0.66 K. These findings indicate that a magnetic-field-induced metaelectric critical end point is realized in BiMn 2O5 near zero temperature.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - 15 Sep 2009
- Metaelectric transition
- Spin-flop transition