Electronic structure and direct observation of ferrimagnetism in multiferroic hexagonal YbFeO3
AbstractThe magnetic interactions between rare-earth and Fe ions in hexagonal rare-earth ferrites (h-RFeO3), may amplify the weak ferromagnetic moment on Fe, making these materials more appealing as multiferroics. To elucidate the interaction strength between the rare-earth and Fe ions as well as the magnetic moment of the rare-earth ions, element-specific magnetic characterization is needed. Using x-ray magnetic circular dichroism, we have studied the ferrimagnetism in h-YbFeO3 by measuring the magnetization of Fe and Yb separately. The results directly show antialignment of magnetization of Yb and Fe ions in h-YbFeO3 at low temperature, with an exchange field on Yb of about 17 kOe. The magnetic moment of Yb is about 1.6μB at low temperature, significantly reduced compared with the 4.5μB moment of a free Yb3+. In addition, the saturation magnetization of Fe in h-YbFeO3 has a sizable enhancement compared with that in h-LuFeO3. These findings directly demonstrate that ferrimagnetic order exists in h-YbFeO3; they also account for the enhancement of magnetization and the reduction of coercivity in h-YbFeO3 compared with those in h-LuFeO3 at low temperature, suggesting an important role for the rare-earth ions in tuning the multiferroic properties of h-RFeO3.