Select Page

Research on Bismuth Ferrite Could Lead to New Types of Electrical Devices

Research on Bismuth Ferrite Could Lead to New Types of Electrical Devices
The red lines in these images illustrate the domain walls separating regions of electric polarization in a material called bismuth ferrite. Researchers have demonstrated that these domain walls can be used to transmit a type of electrical current, which could lead to novel electrical devices.

Electrical devices in use today use conductive materials to guide electrons where they are needed. These materials must be fastened in place and insulated in order to keep the electricity on the right path. New research from the University of Arkansas makes a significant step toward a new kind of electrical device, which would use the natural properties of materials like bismuth ferrite, along with a different type of current, to send electricity quickly through smaller, denser circuits.

Sergey Prosandeev, a research professor in the Department of Physics, worked with Yurong Yang, research associate professor; Charles Paillard, post doctoral fellow; and Laurent Bellaiche, Distinguished Professor. Their results are published in the journal npj Computational Materials.

Using the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center, these researchers created simulations of bismuth ferrite, a synthetic, crystalline material. Bismuth ferrite is “multiferroic,” which means that it has regions, or domains, in which the molecules making up its crystalline structure exhibit a consistent pattern of electric polarization, magnetization and shifting of charged ions. The boundaries between these regions are called domain walls. These walls are two-dimensional and very narrow—they are measured in tenths of nanometers.

In the simulation, the researchers created a type of current, called displacement current, by applying a high frequency electric field to the bismuth ferrite. Unlike the electric current that is produced by the movement of electrons, displacement current results from the vibration of ions in response to an electric field. The researchers found that the displacement current, which is an alternating current, or AC, naturally moves along the domain walls in the bismuth ferrite, and they also found that it is comparable in magnitude to the direct current, or DC, currently used in electrical devices.

Researchers can create domains and move domain walls in multiferroic materials by selectively applying electric fields. By demonstrating that these walls can be used to transmit displacement current, this research is a significant step toward new types of electrical devices.

The researchers explained that the compact nature of these devices would allow them to be very fast and very small. “This opens the way toward the design of fast nanoscale electronic circuits,” they said in the paper.

This research was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

About The Author

Camilla Shumaker is the director of science and research communications. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Arkansas in 2001. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the U of A. From 2010 through 2017, she was the director of communications in the U of A College of Engineering. Camilla can be reached at camillas@uark.edu or (479) 575-7422.

University of Arkansas logo

Looking for an expert?

The University of Arkansas Campus Experts website is a searchable database of experts who can talk to the media on current events.

Trending Topics:
Cellphone privacy
Net Neutrality
Immigration politics
Mars

The Land ‘Calls Out’; Runkle Discusses Rice Production

More Episodes of Short Talks from the Hill

Short Talks From the Hill logo

The University Relations Science and Research Team

Camilla Shumaker
director of science and research communications
479-575-7422, camillas@uark.edu

Matt McGowan
science and research writer
479-575-4246, dmcgowa@uark.edu

Robert Whitby
science and research writer
479-387-0720, whitby@uark.edu

DeLani Bartlette
feature writer
479-575-5709, dbartl@uark.edu

Connect with Us