Ferrotoroidal order, which represents a spontaneous arrangement of toroidal moments, has recently been found in a few linear magnetoelectric materials. However, tuning toroidal moments in these materials is challenging. Here, we report switching between ferritoroidal and ferrotoroidal phases by a small magnetic field, in a chiral triangular-lattice magnet BaCoSiO4 with tri-spin vortices. Upon applying a magnetic field, we observe multi-stair metamagnetic transitions, characterized by equidistant steps in the net magnetic and toroidal moments. This highly unusual ferri-ferroic order appears to come as a result of an unusual hierarchy of frustrated isotropic exchange couplings revealed by first principle calculations, and the antisymmetric exchange interactions driven by the structural chirality. In contrast to the previously known toroidal materials identified via a linear magnetoelectric effect, BaCoSiO4 is a qualitatively new multiferroic with an unusual coupling between several different orders, and opens up new avenues for realizing easily tunable toroidal orders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- 化学 (全般)