Ab initio investigation of twin boundary motion in the magnetic shape memory Heusler alloy Ni2MnGa
Magnetic shape memory (MSM) alloys, which transform martensitically below the Curie temperature in the ferromagnetic (FM) state, represent a new class of actuators. In Ni2MnGa, unusually large magnetic field-induced strains of about 10% have been observed. This effect is related to a high mobility of martensitic twin boundaries in connection with a large magneto-crystalline anisotropy. MSM materials exist in a variety of different martensitic structures depending on temperature and compositions. We investigate the energetics of L10 phase twin boundary motion quasi-statically with ab initio methods and relate the results to calculations of the magneto-crystalline anisotropy energy. Our results indicate that for the L10 structure the energy needed for a coherent shift of a twin boundary may be too large to be overcome solely by magnetic field-induced strains.
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