Multiferroics permit the magnetic control of the electric polarization and the electric control of the magnetization. These static magnetoelectric (ME) effects are of enormous interest: The ability to read and write a magnetic state current-free by an electric voltage would provide a huge technological advantage. Dynamic or optical ME effects are equally interesting, because they give rise to unidirectional light propagation as recently observed in low-temperature multiferroics. This phenomenon, if realized at room temperature, would allow the development of optical diodes which transmit unpolarized light in one, but not in the opposite, direction. Here, we report strong unidirectional transmission in the room-temperature multiferroic BiFeO3 over the gigahertz-terahertz frequency range. The supporting theory attributes the observed unidirectional transmission to the spin-current-driven dynamic ME effect. These findings are an important step toward the realization of optical diodes, supplemented by the ability to switch the transmission direction with a magnetic or electric field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)