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Identification of novel compositions of ferromagnetic shape-memory alloys using composition spreads


Exploration of new ferroic (ferroelectric, ferromagnetic or ferroelastic) materials continues to be a central theme in condensed matter physics and to drive advances in key areas of technology. Here, using thin-film composition spreads, we have mapped the functional phase diagram of the Ni–Mn–Ga system whose Heusler composition Ni2MnGa is a well known ferromagnetic shape-memory alloy. A characterization technique that allows detection of martensitic transitions by visual inspection was combined with quantitative magnetization mapping using scanning SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) microscopy. We find that a large, previously unexplored region outside the Heusler composition contains reversible martensites that are also ferromagnetic. A clear relationship between magnetization and the martensitic transition temperature is observed, revealing a strong thermodynamical coupling between magnetism and martensitic instability across a large fraction of the phase diagram.

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Figure 1: Mapping of magnetic properties using a room-temperature scanning SQUID microscope.
Figure 2: For detection of shape-memory alloys, Si wafers with micromachined cantilever arrays are used.
Figure 3: Scanning X-ray microdiffractogram taken at room temperature along a compositional region marked by the solid black line in Fig. 2b.
Figure 4: Coexistence of ferromagnetism and reversible martensites in the Ni–Mn–Ga system.


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This project was funded by ONR N000140010503 and N000140110761, NSF DMR0076456 and DMR0114176, and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.

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Correspondence to I. Takeuchi.

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Supplementary information

Movie 1Detection of structural transition by visual inspection is demonstrated in this movie, which shows a close up view of a row of cantilevers with a spread deposited. The movie tracks the temperature change from 150 K to 570 K. Every frame is taken with a 5 K increment. All cantilevers are seen to 'relax' as temperature increases due to thermal expansion, and coloured lines in the reflected image move downward. At slightly different temperatures, cantilevers in the middle of the row undergo contraction due to transformation to austenites, and the lines move upward at the transitions. (MOV 552 kb)

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Takeuchi, I., Famodu, O., Read, J. et al. Identification of novel compositions of ferromagnetic shape-memory alloys using composition spreads. Nature Mater 2, 180–184 (2003).

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