Exploration and Functionality

We intend to establish the structure-property relationships in the elaborated nanostructured multifunctional materials. The characterization of the functional properties, i.e. piezoelectric, magnetic and multicaloric properties, of ceramics, 1D-nanostructures, and superlattices will be performed at ambient conditions and as a function of temperature and applied field. The overall physical properties in their relation to composition, substrate, and microstructure will be determined as well. The state-of-the-art characterization techniques include x-ray diffraction and micro-Raman spectroscopy for precision control of stoichiometry and phase analysis, magnetic and dielectric spectroscopy at different temperatures and frequencies, magnetic and polarization measurements in a wide range of temperatures, magnetoelectric and electromechanical coupling parameters; local-scale measurements are performed by scanning probe and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and are expected to shed new light on the switching mechanisms, and the role of interfaces on the overall properties. 
For visualization of individual polarization textures inside nanorods, we will perform atomically-resolved synchrotron X-ray and transmission electron microscopy, exploiting phase retrieval techniques to extract the atomic positions comprising the topological states. Conducting AFM and TEM electron holography combined with in-situ biasing, and electron energy loss spectroscopy would be used to map the electric field distribution within the nanocomposites whilst applying electric fields in order to drive the FE textures.  Both indirect and direct experimental methods will be implemented to study the multicaloric properties. In the case of the indirect method, the measurements of the polarization and magnetization will be performed as functions of temperature and external stimulating field, either electric or magnetic. Utilization of PPMS and high-resolution calorimeter allows via relaxation technique for direct measurements of the electrocaloric and magnetocaloric response with sufficient precision both in bulk and thin film materials. Based on electrical and magnetic characterization the electric- and magnetic-field-temperature (E-H-T) phase diagrams will be proposed for different materials, in order to facilitate the selection of the optimized operating conditions for the material.