DOI: 10.3390/s23249815 ISSN: 1424-8220

A Novel Spinel Ferrite-Hexagonal Ferrite Composite for Enhanced Magneto-Electric Coupling in a Bilayer with PZT

Sujoy Saha, Sabita Acharya, Maksym Popov, Theodore Sauyet, Jacob Pfund, Rao Bidthanapally, Menka Jain, Michael R. Page, Gopalan Srinivasan
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Analytical Chemistry

The magnetoelectric effect (ME) is an important strain mediated-phenomenon in a ferromagnetic-piezoelectric composite for a variety of sensors and signal processing devices. A bias magnetic field, in general, is essential to realize a strong ME coupling in most composites. Magnetic phases with (i) high magnetostriction for strong piezomagnetic coupling and (ii) large anisotropy field that acts as a built-in bias field are preferred so that miniature, ME composite-based devices can operate without the need for an external magnetic field. We are able to realize such a magnetic phase with a composite of (i) barium hexaferrite (BaM) with high magnetocrystalline anisotropy field and (ii) nickel ferrite (NFO) with high magnetostriction. The BNx composites, with (100 − x) wt.% of BaM and x wt.% NFO, for x = 0–100, were prepared. X-ray diffraction analysis shows that the composites did not contain any impurity phases. Scanning electron microscopy images revealed that, with an increase in NFO content, hexagonal BaM grains become prominent, leading to a large anisotropy field. The room temperature saturation magnetization showed a general increase with increasing BaM content in the composites. NFO rich composites with x ≥ 60 were found to have a large magnetostriction value of around −23 ppm, comparable to pure NFO. The anisotropy field HA of the composites, determined from magnetization and ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) measurements, increased with increasing NFO content and reached a maximum of 7.77 kOe for x = 75. The BNx composite was cut into rectangular platelets and bonded with PZT to form the bilayers. ME voltage coefficient (MEVC) measurements at low frequencies and at mechanical resonance showed strong coupling at zero bias for samples with x ≥ 33. This large in-plane HA acted as a built-in field for strong ME effects under zero external bias in the bilayers. The highest zero-bias MEVC of ~22 mV/cm Oe was obtained for BN75-PZT bilayers wherein BN75 also has the highest HA. The Bilayer of BN95-PZT showed a maximum MEVC ~992 mV/cm Oe at electromechanical resonance at 59 kHz. The use of hexaferrite–spinel ferrite composite to achieve strong zero-bias ME coupling in bilayers with PZT is significant for applications related to energy harvesting, sensors, and high frequency devices.

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