The 2022 EPS Condensed Matter Division (CMD) Europhysics Prize has been awarded to the following researchers for seminal contributions to the physics and applications of multiferroic and magnetoelectric materials:
- Prof. Agnès Barthélémy (CNRS/Thales laboratory of University Paris-Saclay)
- Dr. Manuel Bibes (CNRS/Thales laboratory of University Paris-Saclay)
- Prof. Ramamoorthy Ramesh (UC Berkeley)
- Prof. Nicola Spaldin (ETH Zurich)
Manuel Bibes is a CNRS Research Director in Palaiseau, France. He received his Ph.D. in 2001 from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the INSA Toulouse after a joint Franco-Spanish thesis on manganite interfaces at the Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) with Josep Fontcuberta (ICMAB) and Jean-Claude Ousset (INSA) as co-supervisors.
The acknowledgements of his thesis read:
"Cette thèse a été réalisée au sein du Grup de Materials Magnètics i Superconductors de l’Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona et du Laboratoire de Physique de la Matière Condensée dont je remercie les directeurs Xavier Obradors et Jean-Pierre Peyrade pour m’avoir permis de travailler dans d’excellentes conditions durant ces trois années. Merci aussi à Hervé Dexpert pour m’avoir accueilli au CEMES. Mes remerciements les plus chaleureux vont à mes deux co-directeurs de thèse, Josep Fontcuberta et Jean-Claude Ousset. Au premier, je souhaite exprimer mon infinie gratitude pour cette vocation qu’il a fait naître en moi, pour sa patience illimitée et ses encouragements quotidiens: moltíssimes gràcies. Au second, je tiens à transmettre ma sincère reconnaissance pour son soutien perpétuel et sa grande disponibilite lors de mes séjours toulousains."
At ICMAB we cannot be happier for him, congratulations, Manuel Bibes, and for the rest of the awardees, Agnès Barthélemy, Ramamoorthy Ramesh and Nicola Spaldin.
"Congratulations to you all. You deserved a recognition that the multiferroic community has been waiting a long time" says Josep Fontcuberta, researcher at the MULFOX group.
(...) "Barthelemy and Bibes independently championed the field of multiferroic and magnetoelectric physics with an application perspective. After pioneering work by Barthelemy on giant magnetoresistance (GMR from 1989) and tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR in the 1990’s), they began to introduce functional insulating oxides as tunnel barriers into magnetic tunnel junctions, to expand the functionalities of these devices. They used ferromagnetic oxide barriers able to spin-polarize a tunnelling current from a simple metal electrode such as gold (spin-filtering).
Subsequently, they proposed to explore multiferroic barriers with which four-state resistance state memory devices were achieved [doi: 10.1038/nmat1860]. In 2009, Barthélémy and Bibes discovered giant electroresistance in ferroelectric tunnel junctions [doi: 10.1038/nature08128] and patented their use as analogue memory devices called memristors [doi: 10.1038/nmat3415]. Several companies now have programs on such ferroelectric synapses for artificial intelligence. They also explored novel routes for the electrical control of magnetism and spin transport in hybrid oxide-metal architectures at low and room temperature. In particular, they showed that magnetic order can be switched from ferromagnetic to antiferromagnetic just above room temperature in FeRh-based heterostructures, corresponding to record-high magnetoelectric coupling [doi: 10.1038/nmat3870].
They also gave evidence that ferroelectricity could be used to control the spin-polarization of ferromagnets, and thus the spintronic response of devices such as magnetic tunnel junctions [doi: 10.1126/science.1184028]. Most recently, they demonstrated giant spin-charge conversion in oxide two-dimensional electron gases between two nonmagnetic insulating oxides and showed that it can be controlled by ferroelectricity [doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2197-9], corresponding to an entirely novel approach to magnetoelectric coupling and offering exciting opportunities for ultra-low power spin-based devices."
"In conclusion, the research activities of Prof. Agnès Barthélémy and Dr. Manuel Bibes (CNRS/Thales laboratory of University Paris-Saclay), Prof. Ramamoorthy Ramesh (UC Berkeley) and Prof. Nicola Spaldin (ETH Zurich) have initiated an entirely new research field with surprising and unexpected impact on a whole variety of different areas of science and impressive prospects for application, ranging from fundamental physical science to medical diagnostics."
The long citation can be found here. The selection committee (balanced in gender, research topic and country of work) had a very difficult task due to the high quality of the 13 proposals submitted.
The Prize was presented on Wednesday August 24th 2022, during the Awards Session of the 29th General Conference of the EPS Condensed Matter Division (CMD29), in Manchester (joint organization with Institute of Physics, UK).
This prize has been awarded since 1975 (this is the 39th edition) and is one of Europe’s most prestigious prizes in the field of condensed matter physics. It is given in recognition of a prominent and well-identifiable discovery, breakthrough, or contribution to condensed matter physics, by one or more individuals, contribution that, in the opinion of the selection committee, represents scientific excellence.
The award recognises research for which a significant portion of the work was carried out in Europe. A summary of all the prize editions can be found here.
Bio of Manuel Bibes:
Manuel Bibes is a CNRS Research Director in Palaiseau, France. He received his Ph.D. in 2001 from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the INSA Toulouse after a joint Franco-Spanish thesis on manganite interfaces at the Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) with Josep Fontcuberta (ICMAB) and Jean-Claude Ousset (INSA) as co-supervisors. As a postdoc researcher he then worked for two years on magnetic tunnel junctions in Albert Fert’s group at CNRS/Thales.
In 2003 he became a CNRS Scientist and joined the Institute of Fundamental Electronics (now the C2N) at the University Paris-Sud in Orsay. Four years later, he returned to the CNRS/Thales lab to develop research lines on oxides for electronics and spintronics. In 2014, he was promoted to CNRS Research Director.
He is the recipient of the EU40 prize of the European Materials Research Society (2013), a fellow of the APS and the laureate of an ERC Consolidator Grant “MINT” (2014) to expore the physics of new electronic phases appearing at oxide interfaces. In 2017, Bibes received the Descartes-Huygens award of the French Academy of Science and the Royal Academy of the Netherlands, and in 2018 the Friedrich-Wilhelm Bessel award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In 2019, he was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant “FRESCO” to explore spin-charge interconversion in spin-orbitronics architectures based on ferroelectric materials. In 2022, Manuel Bibes and Agnès Barthélémy received the EuroPhysics prize (together with R. Ramesh and N. Spaldin) in recognition of their fundamental contributions to the physics and applications of multiferroic and magnetoelectric materials.
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