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Electricity and magnetism are closely related: Power lines generate a magnetic field, rotating magnets in a generator produce electricity. However, the phenomenon is much more complicated: electrical and magnetic properties of certain materials are also coupled with each other. Electrical properties of some crystals can be influenced by magnetic fields -- and vice versa. In this case one speaks of a "magnetoelectric effect." It plays an important technological role, for example in certain types of sensors or in the search for new concepts of data storage.

A special material was investigated for which, at first glance, no magnetoelectric effect would be expected at all. But careful experiments have now shown that the effect can be observed in this material, it only works completely differently than usual. It can be controlled in a highly sensitive way: Even small changes in the direction of the magnetic field can switch the electrical properties of the material to a completely different state.

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Category: Science