Surface analysis of the Heusler Ni49.7Mn29.1Ga21.2 Alloy: The composition, phase transition, and twinned microstructure of martensite

Result date: 01/01/2016
Author: Katerina Horáková,
Institute: Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 182 21 Prague 8, Czech Republic
Publication: J. Appl. Phys.
Instrument: NanoESCA
Surface analysis was used to study the dynamics of the martensitic transformation on macro- and mesoscopic scales. The chemical state, morphology, and magnetic and surface structure were monitored at particular stages of the phase transition. At room temperature, the martensitic phase of the Ni 49.7Mn29.1Ga21.2 (100) single crystal exhibited macroscopic a/c twinning and a corresponding magnetic domain structure characterized by magnetization vector in and out of the surface plane. Induced by radiation heating, the transformation from martensite to austenite takes place separately at the surface and in the bulk. Its dynamics depend on the history of the sample treatment which affects the crystallographic orientation of twins and minor changes of the surface stoichiometry. The interfaces (twin planes) between twin variants in the martensitic phase were noticeable also in the austenitic phase, thanks to the shape memory effect of this material.