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Publication 52

Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Study of Magnetic Ordering and Inhomogeneity Across the Martensitic Phase Transformation in Ni50_{-x}Co_xMn_{40}Sn+{10} Alloys

Authors:

MinnesotaKanwal Preet Bhatti
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
University of Minnesota


S. El-Khatib
Department of Physics, American University of Sharjah
PO Box 26666, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
and
NIST Center for Neutron Research
National Institute for Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, Maryland


MinnesotaVijay Srivastava
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
107 Akerman Hall
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA


MinnesotaRichard D. James
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
107 Akerman Hall
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA


MinnesotaC. Leighton
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Abstract:
The Heusler-derived multiferroic alloy Ni50_{-x}Co_xMn_{40}Sn+{10} has recently been shown to exhibit, at just above room temperature, a highly reversible martensitic phase transformation with an unusually large magnetization change. In this work the nature of the magnetic ordering above and below this transformation has been studied in detail in the critical composition range $x = 6-8$ via temperature-dependent (5-600 K) magnetometry and smallangle neutron scattering (SANS). We observe fairly typical paramagnetic to long-range-ordered ferromagnetic phase transitions on cooling to 420-430 K, with the expected critical spin fluctuations, followed by first-order martensitic phase transformations to a nonferromagnetic state below 360-390 K. The staticmagnetization reveals complex magnetism in this low-temperature nonferromagnetic phase, including a Langevin-like field dependence, distinct spin freezing near 60 K, and significant exchange bias effects, consistent with superparamagnetic blocking of ferromagnetic clusters of nanoscopic dimensions. We demonstrate that these spin clusters, whose existence has been hypothesized in a variety of martensitic alloys exhibiting competition between ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic exchange interactions, can be directly observed by SANS. The scattering data are consistent with a liquidlike spatial distribution of interacting magnetic clusters with a mean center-to-center spacing of 12 nm. Considering the behavior of the superparmagnetism, cooling-field and temperature-dependent exchange bias, and magnetic SANS, we discuss in detail the physical form and origin of these spin clusters, their intercluster interactions, the nature of the ground-state magnetic ordering in the martensitic phase, and the implications for our understanding of such alloy systems.
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SmallangleJames.pdf

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