Two-dimensional multiferroics in monolayer group IV monochalcogenides
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© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd. Low-dimensional multiferroic materials hold great promises in miniaturized device applications such as nanoscale transducers, actuators, sensors, photovoltaics, and nonvolatile memories. Here, using first-principles theory we predict that two-dimensional (2D) monolayer group IV monochalcogenides including GeS, GeSe, SnS, and SnSe are a class of 2D semiconducting multiferroics with giant strongly-coupled in-plane spontaneous ferroelectric polarization and spontaneous ferroelastic lattice strain that are thermodynamically stable at room temperature and beyond, and can be effectively modulated by elastic strain engineering. Their optical absorption spectra exhibit strong in-plane anisotropy with visible-spectrum excitonic gaps and sizable exciton binding energies, rendering the unique characteristics of low-dimensional semiconductors. More importantly, the predicted low domain wall energy and small migration barrier together with the coupled multiferroic order and anisotropic electronic structures suggest their great potentials for tunable multiferroic functional devices by manipulating external electrical, mechanical, and optical field to control the internal responses, and enable the development of four device concepts including 2D ferroelectric memory, 2D ferroelastic memory, and 2D ferroelastoelectric nonvolatile photonic memory as well as 2D ferroelectric excitonic photovoltaics.
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