Peisen Li, Yonggang Zhao, Sen Zhang, Aitian Chen, Dalai Li, Jing Ma, Yan Liu, Daniel T. Pierce, John Unguris, Hongguang Piao, Huiyun Zhang, Meihong Zhu, Xiaozhong Zhang, Xiufeng Han, Mengchun Pan, Ce-Wen Nan
Intrinsic spatial inhomogeneity or phase separation in cuprates and manganites etc., related to electronic and/or magnetic properties, has attracted much attention due to its significance in fundamental physics and applications. Here we use scanning Kerr microscopy (SKM) and scanning electron microscopy with polarization analysis (SEMPA) with in situ electric fields to reveal the existence of intrinsic spatial inhomogeneity of the magnetic response to an electric field on a mesoscale with the coexistence of loop-like (non-volatile) and butterfly-like (volatile) behaviors in multiferroic ferromagnetic/ferroelectric (FM/FE) heterostructures. Both the experimental results and micromagnetic simulations suggest that these two behaviors come from the 109° and the 71°/180° FE domain switching, respectively, which have a spatial distribution. This FE domain-switching controlled magnetism is significant for understanding the nature of FM/FE coupling on the mesoscale and provides a path for designing magnetoelectric devices through domain engineering.