MSE Seminar: Dr. Peter Finkel, US Naval Research Laboratory

Wednesday, April 24, 2024
3:30 p.m.
Room 2110 Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building
Sherri Tatum
301 405 5240

Ferroics, Multiferroics and Magnetoelectrics: Reconsidering new paths to large transduction, ultra-low power sensors and giant energy conversion

Abstract: The ability to tune both magnetic and electric properties concomitantly in magnetoelectric (ME) composite heterostructures, consisting of magnetostrictive and piezoelectric phases coupled through strain with orders-of-magnitude larger ME coupling coefficient than single-phase multiferroics due to additional functionalities and makes them very promising in many applications and devices  [1,2]. This has generated a revived interest in multiferroics, and is projected to play a critical role in next-generation applications ranging from transducers, tunable inductors, gyrators, magnetic sensors to high-frequency filters and communication devices. In this talk we highlight  different approaches to achieve maximum ME coupling in heterostructures of magnetostrictive films deposited on domain-engineered relaxor ferroelectric single crystals. Much work has been done over the past decade to maximize the magnetoelectric (ME) coupling coefficient, αME, the figure of merit for these composites that can be enhanced through deliberate choice of materials as well as carefully controlling the interface. For the piezoelectric phase, relaxor ferroelectrics have attracted much attention recently due to a piezoelectric coefficient an order of magnitude larger than conventional lead zirconate-titanate [3] especially in proximity to morphotropic phase boundary.  In the ME heterostructures we demonstrated that by exploiting the large ferroelectric phase transitional strain in piezoelectric substrate, the  converse magnetoelectric coupling coefficient is expected to be greatly up to 4x enhanced as compared to linear piezoelectricity [4,5].  In this presentation, the impact of this enhancement will be examined and a path for utilization of this phenomenon in ME composites will be discussed.  Magnetoelectric (ME) resonators are of significant interest for next generation near-dc magnetic field sensors, as the direct coupling of highly magnetostrictive (FeCo- or FeGa-based alloys) and piezoelectric phases (AlN)  enables high magnetic field sub-nT sensitivity  with exceptionally low operational power requirements. This talk highlights several programs within the Materials Science & Technology Division at US Naval Research Laboratory focused on the investigation and understanding physics of these ferroic and multiferroic materials, and how current research presents another opportunity to advance acoustic transduction devices, magnetic sensors and electrically small antennas.


1. R. Ramesh and N.A. Spaldin, Nat. Mater. 6, 21–29 (2007).

2. J.M. Hu, Z. Li, L.Q. Chen, and C.W. Nan, Nat. Comm. 2, 553 (2011).

3. Finkel et al  Sci. Rep. 5, 13770 (2015)

4. M. Staruch et al., Applied Physics Letters 105, 152902 (2014)

5. M. Staruch et al., Sci. Rep. 6, 37429 (2016)

Bio: Dr. Peter Finkel is a Research Physicist at the US Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC. Prior to joining NRL, he was a materials scientist and R&D scientist in the Devices, Sensors and Materials where he led efforts on the development of novel piezoelectric materials for sonars, acoustic sources and underwater magnetic sensors. His research areas include ferroelectric, magnetic and ferroelectric materials, with 20+ years of relevant experience in transduction devices, ultrasonics and magnetic sensors. He currently leads several ONR and DARPA-funded programs at NRL on the physics of multiferroic materials and their applications. 

Audience: Graduate  Undergraduate  Faculty 

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