Light-induced size changes in BiFeO3 crystals

B. Kundys*, M. Viret, D. Colson, Dmytro O. Kundys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

284 Citations (Scopus)


Multifunctional oxides are promising materials because of their fundamental physical properties as well as their potential in applications1. Among these materials, multiferroics exhibiting ferroelectricity and magnetism are good candidates for spin electronic applications using the magnetoelectric effect, which couples magnetism and ferroelecticity. Furthermore, because ferroelectrics are insulators with a reasonable bandgap, photons can efficiently interact with electrons leading to photoconduction or photovoltaic effects 2,3. However, until now, coupling of light with mechanical degrees of freedom has been elusive, although ferroelasticity is a well-known property of these materials. Here, we report on the observation, for the first time, of a substantial visible-light-induced change in the dimensions of BiFeO3 crystals at room temperature. The relative light-induced photostrictive effect is of the order of 10-5 with response times below 0.1 s. It depends on the polarization of incident light as well as applied magnetic fields. This opens the perspective of combining mechanical, magnetic, electric and optical functionalities in future generations of remote switchable devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-805
Number of pages3
JournalNature Materials
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemistry


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