We study the structural, electronic, and magnetic properties of the SrCrO3/YCrO3 superlattice and their dependence on epitaxial strain. We discover that the superlattice adopts A-type antiferromagnetic (A-AFM) ordering in contrast to its constituents (SrCrO3: C-AFM; YCrO3: G-AFM) and retains it under compressive strain while becoming ferromagnetic (5 μB per formula unit) at +1% strain. The obtained ferroelectric polarization is significantly higher than that of the R2NiMnO6/La2NiMnO6 (R = Ce to Er) series of superlattices [Nat. Commun. 5, 4021 (2014)] due to a large difference between the antipolar displacements of the Sr and Y cations. The superlattice is a hybrid-improper multiferroic material with a spontaneous ferroelectric polarization (13.5 μC/cm2) approaching that of bulk BaTiO3 (19 μC/cm2). The combination of ferromagnetism with ferroelectricity enables multistate memory applications. In addition, the charge-order-driven p-type semiconducting state of the ferromagnetic phase (despite the metallic nature of SrCrO3) is a rare property and interesting for spintronics. Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate a magnetic critical temperature of 90 K for the A-AFM phase without strain and of 115 K for the ferromagnetic phase at +5% strain, for example.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-09-11
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). For computer time, this research used the resources of the Supercomputing Laboratory at KAUST.