Giant nonvolatile manipulation of magnetoresistance in magnetic tunnel junctions by electric fields via magnetoelectric coupling

Aitian Chen, Yan Wen, Bin Fang, Yuelei Zhao, Qiang Zhang, Yuansi Chang, Peisen Li, Hao Wu, Haoliang Huang, Yalin Lu, Zhongming Zeng, Jianwang Cai, Xiufeng Han, Tom Wu, Xi Xiang Zhang, Yonggang Zhao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Electrically switchable magnetization is considered a milestone in the development of ultralow power spintronic devices, and it has been a long sought-after goal for electric-field control of magnetoresistance in magnetic tunnel junctions with ultralow power consumption. Here, through integrating spintronics and multiferroics, we investigate MgO-based magnetic tunnel junctions on ferroelectric substrate with a high tunnel magnetoresistance ratio of 235%. A giant, reversible and nonvolatile electric-field manipulation of magnetoresistance to about 55% is realized at room temperature without the assistance of a magnetic field. Through strain-mediated magnetoelectric coupling, the electric field modifies the magnetic anisotropy of the free layer leading to its magnetization rotation so that the relative magnetization configuration of the magnetic tunnel junction can be efficiently modulated. Our findings offer significant fundamental insight into information storage using electric writing and magnetic reading and represent a crucial step towards low-power spintronic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number243
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Dr. Hai Zhong for technical support and Dr. Dalai Li for valuable discussions. This work was supported by the Science Center of the National Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51788104), the 973 Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant No. 2015CB921402), the National Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51831005, 51572150, 11604384), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFA0206200), the State Key Laboratory of Low-Dimensional Quantum Physics (Grant Nos. ZZ201701, KF201717) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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