Materials Science and Engineering, Ames Laboratory
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First-order magnetic transitions (FOMTs) with a large discontinuity in magnetization are highly sought in the development of advanced functional magnetic materials. Isosymmetric magnetoelastic FOMTs that do not perturb crystal symmetry are especially rare, and only a handful of material families, almost exclusively transition metal-based, are known to exhibit them. Yet, here we report a surprising isosymmetric FOMT in a rare-earth intermetallic, Eu2In. What makes this transition in Eu2In even more remarkable is that it is associated with a large latent heat and an exceptionally high magnetocaloric effect in low magnetic fields, but with tiny lattice discontinuities and negligible hysteresis. An active role of the Eu-5d and In-4p states and a rather unique electronic structure borne by In to Eu charge transfer, altogether result in an unusual exchange mechanism that both sets the transition in motion and unveils an approach toward developing specific magnetic functionalities ad libitum.
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Guillou, F.; Pathak, Arjun K.; Paudyal, Durga; Mudryk, Yaroslav; Wilhelm, F.; Rogalev, A.; and Pecharsky, Vitalij K., "Non-hysteretic first-order phase transition with large latent heat and giant low-field magnetocaloric effect" (2018). Materials Science and Engineering Publications. 298.