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Kyongjun Yoo, Byung-Gu Jeon, Sae Hwan Chun, Deepak Rajaram Patil, Yong-jun Lim, Seung-hyun Noh, Jihyo Gil, Jinwoo Cheon*, and Kee Hoon Kim*
Quantitative Measurements of Size-Dependent Magnetoelectric Coupling in Fe3O4 Nanoparticles
Nano Lett., 16 (12), 7408-7413
Date: Nov 1, 2016

Bulk magnetite (Fe3O4), the loadstone used in magnetic compasses, has been known to exhibit magnetoelectric (ME) properties below ∼10 K; however, corresponding ME effects in Fe3O4 nanoparticles have been enigmatic. We investigate quantitatively the ME coupling of spherical Fe3O4 nanoparticles with uniform diameters (d) from 3 to 15 nm embedded in an insulating host, using a sensitive ME susceptometer. The intrinsic ME susceptibility (MES) of the Fe3O4 nanoparticles is measured, exhibiting a maximum value of ∼0.6 ps/m at 5 K for d = 15 nm. We found that the MES is reduced with reduced d but remains finite until d = ∼5 nm, which is close to the critical thickness for observing the Verwey transition. Moreover, with reduced diameter the critical temperature below which the MES becomes conspicuous increased systematically from 9.8 K in the bulk to 19.7 K in the nanoparticles with d = 7 nm, reflecting the core–shell effect on the ME properties. These results point to a new pathway for investigating ME effect in various nanomaterials.

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