Control of magnetism by electric fields

Nat Nanotechnol. 2015 Mar;10(3):209-20. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2015.22.


The electrical manipulation of magnetism and magnetic properties has been achieved across a number of different material systems. For example, applying an electric field to a ferromagnetic material through an insulator alters its charge-carrier population. In the case of thin films of ferromagnetic semiconductors, this change in carrier density in turn affects the magnetic exchange interaction and magnetic anisotropy; in ferromagnetic metals, it instead changes the Fermi level position at the interface that governs the magnetic anisotropy of the metal. In multiferroics, an applied electric field couples with the magnetization through electrical polarization. This Review summarizes the experimental progress made in the electrical manipulation of magnetization in such materials, discusses our current understanding of the mechanisms, and finally presents the future prospects of the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review