Applying stress to a ferroelastic material results in a nonlinear strain response as domains of different orientations mechanically switch. The ability to write, erase and move domain walls between such ferroelastic domains suggests a method for making nanoelectronics where the domain wall is the device. However, little is known about the magnetic properties of such domain walls. A fascinating model system is SrTiO3, where the ferroelastic domain walls display strain-tunable polarity and enhanced conductivity. Here, we reveal a long-range magnetic order with modulations along the ferroelastic domain walls in SrTiO3 and SrTiO3-based heterointerfaces, which manifests itself as a striped pattern in scanning superconducting quantum interference device maps of the magnetic landscape. In conducting interfaces, the magnetism is coupled to itinerant electrons with clear signatures in magnetotransport measurements. The magnetic state is also coupled dynamically to the lattice and can be reversibly tuned by applying local external forces. This study raises the possibility of designing nanoscale devices based on domain walls where strain-tunable ferroelectric, ferroelastic and ferromagnetic orders may coexist.
Christensen, D. V., Frenkel, Y., Xie, Y., Chen, Z., Hikita, Y., Smith, A., ... Kalisky, B. (2019). Strain-tunable magnetism at ferroelastic domain walls. Nature Physics, 15, 269-274. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0363-x