Researchers from Cornell University in New York, the University of Connecticut, the University of California Berkeley, Tsinghua University in China, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have developed a room temperature magnetoelectric memory design that replaces power intensive electric currents with an electric field. The system could one day be used for low power, instant-on computing devices. It requires a low voltage and no current to switch. The device is made of bismuth ferrite, which is both magnetic and ferroelectric. This means it is always electrically polarized, and the polarization can be changed by applying an electric field. This combination, which is rare, makes it the material multiferroic. For computing, bismuth ferrite can be used for nonvolatile memory devices with relatively simple geometries. While this is not the first multiferroic material to be used for such applications, it is the first demonstration that did not require temperatures of a couple Kelvin.
Source: Cornell University