Ultrahard Materials

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Scanning electron micrograph of WB4

Our work in this area is focused on using nanoscale architecture modify the properties magnetic and ferroelectric and materials, and on devising ways to couple ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity together to produce multiferroic materials. Nanoscale magnets offer unique potential to control spin state because in the limit of small size, single domain magnets offer both predicable magnetic behavior and shape controlled magnetic properties. Multiferroics are exciting because an electric field can be used to modify the magnetic state of the system, an advance that provides potential applications in fields as diverse as magnetic memory and RF antennas. In the past two years, we have shown how to use nanoscale architecture to control domain orientation in magnetic nanomaterials, improved on our understanding of solution processed ferroelectric materials, and examined a number of aspects of magnetoelectric or multiferroic materials. This work spans the field from intrinsic multiferroics to composite systems, and from the fundamental to the applied. We have specifically focused on understanding the role of porosity in multiferroic materials, and in understanding how mechanical flexibility can be used to enhance magnetic – ferroelectric coupling.