Manganite-based multiferroic heterostructure towards an intriguing platform for resistive switching memory devices with light-sensing capability


The emergence of strongly correlated complex oxides characterized by microscopic electronic phase separation (EPS) has attracted significant interests amongst researches in the past decades. This is due to the increasing need to develop highly efficient multifunctional devices by controlling the EPS strength. For the complex oxides, the EPS strength can be controlled using the external stimuli like strain, magnetic field, current among others. For instance, perovskite manganite exhibits large EPS in its various phases including paramagnetic insulating phase and ferromagnetic metallic phase. External stimuli change their physical properties by tipping the stability of the coexisting phases.

Generally, light or electric field is used to manipulate the physical properties of manganite films. However, combination of light and electric-field control of EPS has not been fully explored. Investigation of multifield tuning of EPS will lead to a clear understanding of the coupling effects of the light and electric field in perovskite manganites. An example of a magnetoresistive material with high strain-sensitive EPS is Nd0.7Sr0.3MnO3 (NSMO) thin film. It utilizes a substrate-induced in-plane tensile strain to observe a phase transition from ferromagnetic metallic phase to charge-ordering insulating phase.

Dr. Ming Zheng from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Dr. Hao Ni from China University of Petroleum (East China) and colleagues investigated the light and electric field control of the phase separation in resistive switching using multiferroic heterostructure. The authors commenced their work by growing the phase-separated NSMO films on single-crystal substrates of ferroelectric Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3-PbTiO3 (PMN-PT). They employed reversible ferroelastic switching domain to induce nonvolatile electroresistance response at room temperature. Furthermore, they modified the resistance state and phase separation of the NSMO films by both the light-induced delocalization effect and electric-field-induced ferroelastic strain effect. Their work is currently published in the research journal, Physical Review Applied.

The research team observed that the electric-field-induced ferroelastic strain had the potential of improving the visible-light-induced photoresistance effect up to 22.6%. On the other hand, the photoexcited delocalization carriers resulted in a decrease in the film resistance. Both of the effects resulted in adjustable photoresponse as well as a multilevel resistive switching memory. They also noted the strong similarities in the light-induced effects, as well as the electric-filed effects and they too depended on the EPS.

According to the authors, the experimental result in conjunction to the response of the optically controlled electroresistance can be interpreted using a phase separation model and it presents an in-depth understanding of the coupling between the light-induce effects and the electric-field effects. Therefore, it will advance multifield tuning of electron phase separation and more so in complex oxide heterostructures. The properties of such multiferroic heterostructures are similar to nonvolatile storage devices, and thus can be employed in the design and development of multifunctional memory devices with high energy efficiency by adding light as another control parameter.

Manganite-based multiferroic heterostructure towards an intriguing platform for resistive switching memory devices with light-sensing capability, Advances in Engineering


About the author

Dr Ming Zheng obtained his Ph.D. degree in Materials Physics and Chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2015. After working at National University of Singapore and The University of Hong Kong, he joined the Department of Applied Physics in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2017.

His current research interests include multiferroic, magnetic and luminescent thin films and devices. He has published over 20 peer-reviewed journals, such as Nano Energy, Phys. Rev. (3), Appl. Phys. Lett. (8), ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces (2). He has been invited as a reviewer by international reputed journals, such as Adv. Electron. Mater., J. Magn. Magn. Mater., Thin Solid Films, and has been awarded the Outstanding Contribution in Reviewing for J. Magn. Magn. Mater. (2017) and Phys. Lett. A (2018).

E-mail: [email protected]

About the author

Dr Hao Ni is an associate professor in Department of Applied Physics, China University of Petroleum (East China). He received his B. S. degree from College of Physics of the University of Shandong, and his Ph. D. degree from China University of Petroleum (Beijing) in 2013. His research interests are the transport and photoelectric characteristics of perovskite oxide films and ferroelectric heterostructures. He has published research articles in Physics Review Applied, Applied Physics Letters, Optic Express, etc.

E-mail: [email protected]


Zheng, M., Ni, H., Xu, X., Qi, Y., Li, X., & Gao, J. (2018). Optically Tunable Resistive-Switching Memory in Multiferroic Heterostructures. Physical Review Applied, 9(4).

Go To Physical Review Applied

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