Multiple structural transitions driven by spin-phonon couplings in a perovskite oxide

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  30 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1700288
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700288


Spin-phonon interactions are central to many interesting phenomena, ranging from superconductivity to magnetoelectric effects. However, they are believed to have a negligible influence on the structural behavior of most materials. For example, magnetic perovskite oxides often undergo structural transitions accompanied by magnetic signatures whose minuteness suggests that the underlying spin-phonon couplings are largely irrelevant. We present an exception to this rule, showing that novel effects can occur as a consequence. Our first-principles calculations reveal that spin-phonon interactions are essential to reproduce the experimental observations on the phase diagram of magnetoelectric multiferroic BiCoO3. Moreover, we predict that, under compression, these couplings lead to an unprecedented temperature-driven double-reentrant sequence of ferroelectric transitions. We propose how to modify BiCoO3 via chemical doping to reproduce such marked effects under ambient conditions, thereby yielding useful multifunctionality.

  • Multiferroics
  • spin-phonon coupling
  • density functional theory
  • phase transitions

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances