- Heusler alloy
A Heusler alloy is a
ferromagnetic metal alloybased on a Heusler phase. Heusler phases are intermetallicswith particular composition and face-centered cubiccrystal structure. They are ferromagnetic even though the constituting elements are not as a result of the double-exchange mechanismbetween neighboring magnetic ions, usually manganesewhich sit at the body centers in a Heusler alloy. The magnetic moment usually resides almost solely on the manganese atom in these alloys. See the Bethe-Slater curve for more info on why this happens.
The term is named after a German
mining engineerand chemist Friedrich Heusler, who studied such an alloy in 1903. It contained two parts copper, one part manganese, and one part tin.The Heusler alloy Cu2MnAl has been the subject of a considerable number of studies and the stoichiometric alloy (i.e. one in which the proportion of elements is exactly as in the formula above) has the following properties. It has a room temperature saturation induction of around 8,000 gauss (Bouchard 1970) which is in excess of that of the element nickel(around 6100 gauss) although less than that of iron(around 21500 gauss). Early studies (Heusler 1903, Knowlton and Clifford 1912, review Bozorth 1951) showed that the magnetic properties varied considerably with heat treatment and composition. Bradley and Rogers (1934) first showed that the room-temperature ferromagnetic phase was a fully ordered structure of the L21 type. This has a primitive cubic lattice of copper atoms which has alternate cells body-centred by manganeseand aluminium. The lattice parameter is 5.95 angstrom units. The molten alloy has a solidus temperature around 910oC. As it is cooled below this temperature the fully disordered solid body-centred cubic beta phase forms. Below 750oC a B2 ordered lattice forms (Nesterenko 1969, Bouchard 1970) with a primitive cubic copperlattice body-centred by a disordered manganese aluminiumsublattice. Cooling below 610oC causes further ordering of the manganese and aluminium sub-lattice to the L21 form (Bouchard 1970, Ohoyama et al 1968). Studies of off-stoichiometric alloys have been made by West and Lloyd-Thomas (1956), Johnston and Hall (1968) and Bouchard (1970). In general the ordering temperatures decrease for these compositions and the range of temperatures within which the alloy can be annealed without forming microprecipitates becomes small.
Oxley et al (1963) found a value of 357oC for the Curie temperature, below which the alloy becomes ferromagnetic. A variety of investigators using neutron diffraction and other techniques (e.g. Endo et al 1963, Bouchard 1970) have shown that a magnetic moment of around 3.7 bohr magnetons resides almost solely on the
manganeseatoms. As these atoms are 4.2 Angstrom units apart, it seems likely that the exchange interaction aligning the spins must be indirect through conduction electrons or the aluminiumand copper atoms. Theoretical studies of the interaction have been made by Oxley et al (1963) and Geldart and Ganguly (1970).
Electron microscope studies (Nesterenko 1969, Bouchard 1970) have shown that thermal antiphase boundaries (APBs) form during cooling through the ordering temperatures as ordered domains nucleate at different centres within the crystal lattice and are often out of step with each other where they meet. The anti-phase domains grow as the alloy is annealed. There are two types of APB corresponding to the B2 and L21 types of ordering. APBs also form between
dislocationsif the alloy is deformed. At the APB the manganeseatoms will be closer than in the bulk of the alloy and electron microscopestudies (Lapworth and Jakubovics 1974) showed that for non-stoichiometricalloys with an excess of copper(e.g. Cu2.2MnAl0.8) an antiferromagneticlayer forms on every thermal APB. These antiferromagneticlayers completely supersede the normal magnetic domainstructure and stay with the APBs if they are grown by annealing the alloy. This significantly modifies the magnetic properties of the non-stoichiometric alloy relative to the stoichiometric alloy which has a normal domain structure. Presumably this phenomenon is related to the fact that pure manganeseis an antiferromagnetalthough it is not clear why the effect is not observed in the stoichiometric alloy. Similar effects occur at APBs in the ferromagnetic alloy MnAl at its stoichiometric composition.
In recent times, the importance of Heusler alloys for
spintronicshas been increasing.
Another useful Heusler alloy is the class of materials known as ferromagnetic shape memory alloys which can change their length by up to 10% on application of a magnetic field. These are generally an alloy of nickel-manganese-gallium.
List of Heusler alloys
*Cu2MnAl, Cu2MnIn, Cu2MnSn,
*Ni2MnAl, Ni2MnIn, Ni2MnSn, Ni2MnSb
*Co2MnAl, Co2MnSi, Co2MnGa, Co2MnGe
*Pd2MnAl, Pd2MnIn, Pd2MnSn, Pd2MnSb
* [http://hypertextbook.com/physics/electricity/ferromagnetism/ Ferromagnetism, from The Physics Hypertextbook]
*G. Sauthoff: Intermetallics, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 1995, S. 83 u. 90.
author= T. Block, M. J. Carey, B. A. Gurney, O. Jepsen
title = Band-structure calculations of the half-metallic ferromagnetism and structural stability of full- and half-Heusler phases
journal = Phys. Rev. B
year = 2004
volume = 70
pages = 205114
doi = 10.1103/PhysRevB.70.205114
author= Bradley A.J. and Rogers J.W.
title = The Crystal Structure of the Heusler Alloys
journal = Proc. Roy. Soc.
year = 1934
volume = A144
issue = 852
pages = 340–359
url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0950-1207%2819340329%29144%3A852%3C340%3ATCSOTH%3E2.0.CO%3B2-4
doi = 10.1098/rspa.1934.0053
author= Bouchard M.
journal = Ph.D. Thesis, Imperial College London
year = 1970
Ferromagnetism D.Van Nostrand Co.Inc.
author= Endo K., Ohoyama T., and Kimura R.
year = 1964
volume = 19
pages = 1494
author= Geldart D.J.W. and Ganguly P.
year = 1970
volume = B1
pages = 3101
author= Heusler F.
Verh. Deut. phys. Ges.
year = 1903
volume = 5
pages = 219
author= Johnston G.B. and Hall E.O.
title =Studies on the Heusler alloys—I. Cu2MnAl and associated structures
year = 1968
volume = 29
pages = 193, 201
author= Knowlton A.A. and Clifford O.C.
title =The Heusler alloys
journal = Trans. Faraday Soc.
year = 1912
volume = 8
pages = 195–206
doi = 10.1039/TF9120800195
author = Lapworth A.J. and Jakubovics J.P.
title = Effect of antiphase boundaries on the magnetic properties of Cu-Mn-Al Heusler alloys
year = 1974
volume = 29
pages = 253
doi = 10.1080/14786437408213271
author= Nesterenko Y.H.G., Osipenko I.A. and Firstov S.A.
year = 1969
volume = 27
pages = 135
author= Ohoyama T., Webster P.J. and Williams K.C.
year = 1963
volume = 1
pages = 951
author= Oxley D.P., Tebble R.S. and Williams K.C.
title =Heusler Alloys
year = 1963
volume = 34
pages = 1362
author= PJ Webster
title = Heusler alloys
journal = Contemporary Physics
year = 1969
volume = 10
issue = 6
pages = 559–577
doi = 10.1080/00107516908204800
author= West D.R.F. and Lloyd Thomas D.
year = 1956
volume = 85
pages = 97
* [http://www.npi.gov.au/database/substance-info/profiles/27.html National Pollutant Inventory - Copper and compounds fact sheet]
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