Strongly correlated materials with multiple order parameters provide unique insights into the fundamental interactions in condensed matter systems and present opportunities for innovative technological applications. A class of antiferromagnetic honeycomb lattices compounds, A4B2O9 (A = Co, Fe, Mn; B = Nb, Ta), have been explored owing to the occurrence of linear magnetoelectricity. From our investigation of magnetoelectricity on single crystalline Co4Ta2O9, we discovered strongly nonlinear and antisymmetric magnetoelectric behavior above the spin-flop transition for magnetic fields applied along two orthogonal in-plane directions. This observation suggests that two types of inequivalent Co2+ sublattices generate magnetic-field-dependent ferroelectric polarization with opposite signs. The results motivate fundamental and applied research on the intriguing magnetoelectric characteristics of these buckled-honeycomb lattice materials.
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