(Phys.org) —Multiferroics are materials that exhibit a ferroelectric and magnetic order simultaneously. These orders have been the building blocks for technologically and economically important applications such as ferroelectric memory and spintronics. The ferroelectric polarization couples strongly to ultraviolet light by exciting electron-hole pairs. The charge separation under the influence of remnant polarization generates a large electric field across the multiferroic film. These novel properties arising from light-matter interaction open opportunities for efficient electric-field control of magnetism on ultrafast time scales. To facilitate the application of multiferroics in new technologies, a microscopic picture needs to be developed to illustrate the process that starts from light-matter interaction and carries through to the relaxation of the photoinduced effects so that we can fully understand how these new properties come about and how best to harness them.