Low voltage induced reversible magnetoelectric coupling in Fe3O4 thin films for voltage tunable spintronic devices†
The ongoing demand for efficient and low-energy consumption spintronic devices has motivated the idea of manipulating magnetism by ionic liquid (IL) electrolyte gating at low voltages. Although magnetoelectric (ME) coupling has already been realized in some field-effect-transistor (FET) structures, some vital parameters such as giant ME coupling coefficient, excellent reversibility and low gating voltage seldom come at the same time, which greatly suppresses industrialization. Here we demonstrate a large 552 Oe spin dynamics modulation of Fe3O4 thin films induced at a gating voltage of Vg = +1.5 V in an IL-gated Au/[DEME]+[TFSI]−/Fe3O4/MgO heterostructure with good reversibility up to 80 cycles, giving rise to a high ME coefficient of 368 Oe V−1. Such a large ME tunability under low Vg could be attributed to the electric field (E-field) induced ionic transformation between Fe2+ and Fe3+ at the interface. The tiny thickness change (∼2 angstrom) and roughness change of Fe3O4 films under Vg = +1.5 V illustrated by in situ X-ray reflection (XRR) give a reasonable explanation of the outstanding reversible property. Interestingly, it is found that the Verwey transition temperature of Fe3O4 has a strong dependence on Vg, revealing the potential of IL gating control of the intrinsic spin ordering inside magnetic films. This work drives forward the low-voltage induced reversible ME coupling to high-performance spintronic devices.