Multiferroic Core-Shell Nanofibers, Assembly in a Magnetic Field, and Studies on Magneto-Electric Interactions
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Ferromagnetic–ferroelectric nanocomposites are of interest for realizing strong strain-mediated coupling between electric and magnetic subsystems due to a high surface area-to-volume ratio. This report is on the synthesis of nickel ferrite (NFO)–barium titanate (BTO) core–shell nanofibers, magnetic field assisted assembly into superstructures, and studies on magneto-electric (ME) interactions. Electrospinning techniques were used to prepare coaxial fibers of 0.5–1.5 micron in diameter. The core–shell structure of annealed fibers was confirmed by electron microscopy and scanning probe microscopy. The fibers were assembled into discs and films in a uniform magnetic field or in a field gradient. Studies on ME coupling in the assembled films and discs were done by magnetic field (H)-induced polarization, magneto–dielectric effects at low frequencies and at 16–24 GHz, and low-frequency ME voltage coefficients (MEVC). We measured ~2–7% change in remnant polarization and in the permittivity for H = 7 kOe, and a MEVC of 0.4 mV/cm Oe at 30 Hz. A model has been developed for low-frequency ME effects in an assembly of fibers and takes into account dipole–dipole interactions between the fibers and fiber discontinuity. Theoretical estimates for the low-frequency MEVC have been compared with the data. These results indicate strong ME coupling in superstructures of the core–shell fibers.