Direct evidence of electronic ferroelectricity in YbFe2O4 using neutron diffraction and nonlinear spectroscopy

K. Fujiwara, Y. Fukada, Y. Okuda, R. Seimiya, N. Ikeda, K. Yokoyama, H. Yu, S. Koshihara, Y. Okimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We report the first observation of room temperature spontaneous electric polarization in an electronic ferroelectric material, a YbFe2O4 single crystal. The observation was based on second harmonic generation (SHG), a nonlinear optical process. Tensor analysis of the SHG signal revealed that this material has a polar charge superstructure with Cm symmetry. This result settles the long-term discussion on the uncertainty about electronic ferroelectric properties, including the charge order structure. We present a complete picture of the polar charge ordering of this material via consistent results from two different characterization methods. The SHG signal shows the same temperature dependence as the superlattice signal observed in neutron diffraction experiments. These results prove ferroelectric coupling to electron ordering in YbFe2O4, which results in electronic ferroelectricity which is enabled by the real space ordering of iron cations with different valences. The existence of electronic ferroelectricity holds promise for future electronics technologies where devices run a thousand times faster than frequency of the present CPU (a few gigahertz) embedded in smartphones, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4277
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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