Oxide recall

Stephen O'Brien of City University New York and colleagues have discovered a new group of complex oxides, known as hollandites, based on barium, titanium and manganese that exhibit both magnetic and ferroelectric properties. Combining both phenomena allows a coupling that might be exploited in future computer memory devices or in the emerging field of spintronics, where the electron's spin and its magnetic moment are used in logic circuits rather than simply the charge. The findings confirm a prediction dating back almost twenty years regarding the ferroelectric nature of such inorganic substances and now open up the prospect of being able to control charges using magnetic fields and spins by applied voltages, for novel sensors, four-state logic circuits and the aforementioned spintronics.