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[pib] MnBi2S4: Multiferroic Material for Energy-Efficient Data Storage


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MnBi2S4 and its properties

Mains level: NA


  • Researchers have identified a unique mechanism of electric polarization via magnetic ordering in a novel mineral named “MnBi2S4”, which can be useful for energy-efficient data storage.

About Magnetoelectric Multiferroics

  • This special class of materials is renowned for their rarity and unique properties, capable of exhibiting both magnetism and ferroelectricity simultaneously.
  • They find applications in advanced technology like spintronics, electronic memory devices, actuators, and switches.

What is MnBi2S4?

  • Also known as mineral gratianite, it belongs to the ternary manganese chalcogenide family.
  • It showcases distinct magnetic structures, including a spin density wave, cycloidal, and helical spin structures.
  • Notably, the latter two spin structures induce ferro-electricity in the material.
  • MnBi2S4 is centro-symmetric and undergoes magnetic ordering at low temperatures (27, 23, and 21.5 Kelvins).

Significance of the Study

  • This finding highlights the strong coupling between magnetism and electric polarization.
  • The unique mechanism, driven by magnetic frustration, represents a breakthrough in magnetoelectric coupling.
  • If the material can exhibit the same phenomena at room temperature, it could revolutionize data storage by reducing energy consumption during writing processes.
  • Additionally, these findings could aid in the development of a four-state logic memory system, providing additional degrees of freedom for device performance compared to current binary logic systems.

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