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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Jun 8;108(23):237201. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Electric field control of the magnetic chiralities in ferroaxial multiferroic RbFe(MoO4)2.

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  • 1Clarendon Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, United Kingdom. a.hearmon@physics.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

The coupling of magnetic chiralities to the ferroelectric polarization in multiferroic RbFe(MoO4)2 is investigated by neutron spherical polarimetry. Because of the axiality of the crystal structure below T(c)=190   K, helicity and triangular chirality are symmetric-exchange coupled, explaining the onset of the ferroelectricity in this proper-screw magnetic structure--a mechanism that can be generalized to other systems with ferroaxial distortions in the crystal structure. With an applied electric field, we demonstrate control of the chiralities in both structural domains simultaneously.

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