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Structural and Magnetic Depth Profiles of Magneto-Ionic Heterostructures Beyond the Interface Limit



Dustin A. Gilbert, Alexander J. Grutter, Elke Arenholz, Kai Liu, Brian J. Kirby, Julie A. Borchers, Brian B. Maranville


Electric-field control of magnetism provides a promising route towards ultralow power information storage and sensor technologies. The effects of magneto-ionic motion have so far been prominently featured in the direct modification of interface chemical and physical characteristic. Here we demonstrate magnetoelectric coupling moderated by voltage-driven oxygen migration beyond the interface limit in relatively thick AlOx/GdIx/Co (15 nm) films. Oxygen migration and its ramifications on the Co magnetization are quantitatively mapped with polarized neutron reflectometry under thermal and electro-thermal conditionings. The depth-resolved profiles uniquely identify interfacial and bulk behaviors and a semi-reversible suppression and recovery of the magnetization. Magnetometry measurements show that the conditioning changes the microstructure so a to disrupt long-range ferromagnetic ordering, resulting in an additional magnetically soft phase. X-ray spectroscopy confirms electric field induced changes in the Co oxidation state but not in the Gd, suggesting that the GdOx transmits oxygen but does not source or sink it. These results together provide crucial insight into controlling magnetic heterostructures via magneto-ionic motion, not only at the interface, but also throughout the bulk of the films.
Nature Communications


Magnetism, magneto-ionic, oxidation, electric field, neutron scattering, FORC, XAS, XMCD


Gilbert, D. , Grutter, A. , Arenholz, E. , Liu, K. , Kirby, B. , Borchers, J. and , B. (2016), Structural and Magnetic Depth Profiles of Magneto-Ionic Heterostructures Beyond the Interface Limit, Nature Communications, [online], (Accessed July 22, 2024)


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Created July 22, 2016, Updated February 19, 2017