A direct magnetoelectric effect, an induction of electric polarization by a magnetic field, was observed at room temperature in a chiral smectic liquid crystal without magnetic metals or radicals. Our detailed measurements of the magnetoelectric effect and the magnetodielectric effect suggest a unique origin of the magnetoelectric coupling in the liquid crystal, that is, a magnetic-field manipulation of the molecular orientation state, which is closely coupled with a local electric dipole moment due to the chirality-induced symmetry breaking. This unconventional strategy based on the softness of liquid crystals provides one of the promising directions towards the achievement of room-temperature metal-free magnetoelectrics.

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