Atomic-Scale Visualization of Multiferroicity in Monolayer NiI2

Mohammad Amini, Adolfo O. Fumega, Héctor González-Herrero, Viliam Vaňo, Shawulienu Kezilebieke, Jose L. Lado*, Peter Liljeroth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Progress in layered van der Waals materials has resulted in the discovery of ferromagnetic and ferroelectric materials down to the monolayer limit. Recently, evidence of the first purely 2D multiferroic material was reported in monolayer NiI2. However, probing multiferroicity with scattering-based and optical bulk techniques is challenging on 2D materials, and experiments on the atomic scale are needed to fully characterize the multiferroic order at the monolayer limit. Here, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) supported by density functional theory (DFT) calculations is used to probe and characterize the multiferroic order in monolayer NiI2. It is demonstrated that the type-II multiferroic order displayed by NiI2, arising from the combination of a magnetic spin spiral order and a strong spin-orbit coupling, allows probing the multiferroic order in the STM experiments. Moreover, the magnetoelectric coupling of NiI2 is directly probed by external electric field manipulation of the multiferroic domains. The findings establish a novel point of view to analyze magnetoelectric effects at the microscopic level, paving the way toward engineering new multiferroic orders in van der Waals materials and their heterostructures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced Materials
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • density-functional theory calculations
  • magneto electric coupling
  • multiferroic order
  • scanning tunneling microscopy
  • two-dimensional multiferroics


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