The University of Maryland MRSEC grants ended in September 2013 after 17 years of successful operation. This site remains as a history of the center, but will not be actively maintained.
University of Maryland
Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
Magnetism and ferroelectricity are essential to many forms of current technology, making multiferroic materials, where these two phenomena are intimately coupled, of great technological and fundamental importance. The discovery that even a weak magnetoelectric interaction can lead to spectacular cross-coupling effects when it induces electric polarization in a magnetically ordered state has great potential for tuneable multifunctional devices. Also, elastically coupled composite multiferroics have been developed that already demonstrate a useful magneto-electric response. The magnetic ferroelectricity occurs in ‘frustrated magnets’ with competing interactions between spins and complex magnetic orders. These fundamental and technological issues have driven the great current interest in these materials.
The goals of this research group are to understand the fundamental processes in these materials and to develop and test novel room-temperature device concepts for their exploitation in applications including ultrasensitive magnetic field sensor arrays and bi-tunable memory elements. We are using state of the art growth techniques for synthesizing single crystals and atomically controlled thin film multilayers. Combinatorial synthesis allows rapid optimization of useful properties. The science and technology of multiferroics are being addressed by a wide range of state of the art characterization tools.
H. Dennis Drew
Research Professor, Physics