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EPSRC Reference: EP/G065640/1
Title: MATERIALS WORLD NETWORK The Magnetostructural Response in Heterostructured Systems: a US - UK Collaboration
Principal Investigator: Marrows, Professor CH
Other Investigators:
Brydson, Professor RMD Langridge, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Brookhaven National Laboratory Northeastern University
Department: Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 December 2009 Ends: 31 January 2013 Value (£): 500,901
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Magnetic materials are ubiquitous in modern society, present in advanced devices, sensors and motors of every kind. As the magnetic force loses strength only over very long distances, it allows for communication between components that are physically well-separated. This unique property permits the conversion of electrical to mechanical energy, assists microwave devices in telecommunications, transmission and distribution of electric power, enables data storage systems and facilitates sensing of ambient conditions. Steady effort has been extended since the invention of the magnetic compass (first reported in the Qin Dynasty, 221 BC) to tailor and optimize magnetic materials' performance. Two thousand years later it is clear that breakthrough advances in the performance of magnetic devices will require new materials and novel design principles to control magnetic performance. In this project we will clarify the origins of a significant but poorly-understood phenomenon of extrinsic control of a classically intrinsic parameter - the magnetic transition temperature - in layered systems comprised of magnetic materials with strong electron-lattice coupling. This will be done by a joint transatlantic programme of research between the University of Leeds and STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK, and Northeastern University in the USA. Brookhaven National Laboratory will participate as a project partner. We shall use FeRh, which crystallizes in the CsCl phase, as a model system: this material undergoes a phase transition from antiferromagnetic (AF) to ferromagnetic (F) on warming through a critical temperature that is conveniently located at about 100 degrees Celsius, accompanied by an isotropic lattice expansion. As well as providing a material with the fascinating property that magnetism can be switched on and off at will, deep questions about the underlying mechanism for the transition remain.We have already demonstrated the capability to grow epitaxial thin films of this material in Leeds and the intrinsic transition has been characterized by SQUID, synchrotron x-ray diffraction, x-ray magnetic circular dichroism, and polarised neutron reflectometry by our research partners in the USA and UK. We now seek to use joint NSF-EPSRC support to cement this link, and carry out some novel experiments where we seek to control the AF-F phase transition using extrinsic parameters. In the films we have at present, as is known in the bulk, the position of the phase boundary can be controlled intrinsically by the exact FeRh stoichiometry. A few tantalising results are present in the literature where the transition has been quite markedly affected by other external parameters by building heterostructures incorporating magnetostructural materials. Here we will throw light on the underlying mechanism for the magnetostructural response by exploring such heterostructures and the response of the FeRh to extrinsic strain, magnetostatic and exchange fields, and seek ways in which they might be combined to enhance each other.
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk