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Advances in Condensed Matter Physics
Volume 2014, Article ID 512621, 4 pages
Research Article

The Origin and Coupling Mechanism of the Magnetoelectric Effect in TMCl2-4SC(NH2)2 (TM = Ni and Co)

1National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), MPA-CMMS Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
2Department of Physics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6
3Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA 99004, USA
4Materials Synthesis & Integrated Devices, LANL, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
5Material Science and Technology Division, LANL, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA

Received 30 May 2014; Accepted 19 August 2014; Published 8 September 2014

Academic Editor: Krishnakumar Pillai

Copyright © 2014 Eundeok Mun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Most research on multiferroics and magnetoelectric effects to date has focused on inorganic oxides. Molecule-based materials are a relatively new field in which to search for magnetoelectric multiferroics and to explore new coupling mechanisms between electric and magnetic order. We present magnetoelectric behavior in NiCl2-4SC(NH2)2 (DTN) and CoCl2-4SC(NH2)2 (DTC). These compounds form tetragonal structures where the transition metal ion (Ni or Co) is surrounded by four electrically polar thiourea molecules [SC(NH2)2]. By tracking the magnetic and electric properties of these compounds as a function of magnetic field, we gain insights into the coupling mechanism by observing that, in DTN, the electric polarization tracks the magnetic ordering, whereas in DTC it does not. For DTN, all electrically polar thiourea molecules tilt in the same direction along the c-axis, breaking spatial-inversion symmetry, whereas, for DTC, two thiourea molecules tilt up and two tilt down with respect to c-axis, perfectly canceling the net electrical polarization. Thus, the magnetoelectric coupling mechanism in DTN is likely a magnetostrictive adjustment of the thiourea molecule orientation in response to magnetic order.