Combinatorial Investigation of Magnetostrictive Materials

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Combinatorial materials synthesis is a research methodology, which allows one to study a large number of compositionally varying samples simultaneously. We apply this technique in the search for novel multifunctional materials. The work presented here will discuss the combinatorial investigation of novel magnetostrictive materials.

In particular, binary Fe-Ga and the ternary Fe-Ga-Al, Fe-Ga-Pd systems are studied. Magnetron co-sputtered composition spread samples of the alloys have been fabricated to study composition dependent trends in magnetostriction. Magnetostriction measurements on all systems studied here have been carried out by optically measuring the deflection of micro-machined cantilever arrays.

Measurements of the magnetostriction on binary Fe-Ga thin-films show similar compositional trends as had been reported in bulk systems. The maximum value of magnetostriction observed is 220 ppm, which is comparable to bulk values.

A previously unreported minor maximum in magnetostriction as a function of composition has been found for Ga contents of about 4 at%. It is believed that the origin of this minor maximum is related to a peak in the magnetic moment of Fe atoms in Fe-Ga alloys at this composition.

We have mapped the Fe-Ga-Pd and Fe-Ga-Al ternary systems. Large regions of the phase diagrams have been mapped out in a single experiment, and the observed magnetostrictive dependence on Ga content matches trends seen in bulk. It was found that the trend of magnetostriction deviated from that of bulk with the inclusion of as little as 1 at% Pd. The addition of up to 10 at % Al to Fe70Ga30 was possible without severe degradation of its magnetostriction.