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5th European School on Multiferroics

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application deadline


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29.01. and 30.01.12

Taking place at the Balint conference room.

Please bring along an A0 poster size, preferably portrait shape.


from 29.01.-03.02.2012

Centro Stefano Franscini
Monte Verità
Via Collina 84
6612 Ascona, Switzerland

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January 29 to February 3, 2012

Centro Stefano Franscini
Monte Verità, Switzerland


Many of today's leading technologies are based on magnetic or ferroelectric materials phenomena that were discovered in the second half of the 20th century. Examples include memory devices in which information is stored in the orientation of magnetization in ferromagnets or polarization in ferroelectrics, and sensing and actuating devices that exploit the structural distortion that accompanies ferromagnetism or ferroelectricity.

The first decade of the 21st century has seen tremendous progress in the new field of Multiferroics, which are materials with simultaneous magnetic and ferroelectric order in a single phase. In particular, several new mechanisms for multiferroic behavior have been identified, and in turn new multiferroic materials have been discovered. In addition, understanding of the coupling between the order parameters – so-called magneto-electric coupling – has vastly improved, allowing development of materials with larger magneto-electric coupling effects. For example electric-field control of ferromagnetic magnetization has been demonstrated, as well as magnetic-field tuning of dielectric properties through giant magneto-capacitance effects. This combination of two dominant electronic materials technologies has an enormous potential for transformative device applications.

The ETH Winter school aims to create to a teaching platform for the growing number of junior researchers in the multiferroics community, in which both fundamentals and new developments in the field of multiferroics are discussed. In addition, by uniting the magnetic and ferroelectric communities with their partially different languages and traditions we aim also to promote new inter-disciplinary collaborations and spawn new research directions. A final goal of this ETH winter school is the compilation of a list of fundamental open questions in the field of multiferroics. Such a compilation will be beneficial in focusing the theoretical and experimental tools on specific important questions. We hope that this list of open questions, the "Monte Verità", will serve as a guideline for the field over the coming years.

Conference Themes

This School is the 5th in a series of European Schools on Multiferroics, with previous Schools held in Grenoble, Girona, Groningen and L'Aquila. The ESMF schools have all had different emphases and lecturers to reflect current areas of interest. The focus areas for ESMF5 are:

  1. The co-existence and cross-coupling between different long-range orders (magnetic, dipolar, ferroelastic, toroidal);
  2. The search for new materials showing strong magneto-electric coupling and multiferroicity, including handles (such as strain-engineering or materials design) to tune the relevant properties;
  3. The novel physical mechanisms at the basis of complex magnetic phase diagrams, encompassing ferroelectricity induced by static magnetic or charge order as well as dynamical magnetoelectric effects, including electromagnons and domain wall dynamics;
  4. Perspectives for multifunctional applications, including electrically controllable spintronic devices. Systems of interest will range from bulk compounds to composites, from thin films to (hybrid) nanostructures.

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