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Dimensionality effects in the physical properties of Heusler and magnetostrictive intermetallic materials: from 1- to 3-D architectures


The great impact of Nanosciences in nowadays society comes from the extremely powerful capabilities derived from the modification of matter at nanometer and atomic scales. This allows tuning and playing with the intrinsic properties of materials by changing their structural bulk configuration, fundamentally exploiting confinement and dimensionality effects. Their study leads to the development of novel knowledge with technological perspectives and is crucial for fundamental research of unexplored physical phenomena. In particular, little is known on the effects of dimensional confinement on intermetallic alloys such as Heusler, Heli-magnetic (Skyrmion like), magnetostrictive (MS) and magnetocaloric (MC) materials. The production of thin films of these materials, 2-dimensional (2D) systems, have offered a unique opportunity to study the size effects on a wide range of physical phenomena, being very promising for a plethora of applications, ranging from magnetic/thermal sensors to Micro-Electromechanical Systems. However, a deeper understanding of 1-dimensional (1D) systems (nanowires and stripes), as well as more exotic nanostructures, such as 2-dimensional (2D) antidot arrays and 3-dimensional (3D) interconnected nanostructures, are demanded because it is expected that they will give rise to unusual and novel magnetic phenomena revealing new physical insights into nanomagnetism.Therefore, this proposal aims to develop and optimize the necessary tools and know-how to produce and study nanostructured materials such as R-Si-Ge compounds (with R = rare earth), that are one of the rare materials combining both large magnetostriction and magnetocaloric effects, and Heusler ternary compounds (Co2-Fe-Y with Y = Al, Ga, Sn, etc.), that present a rich variety of interesting physical properties like spin current polarizing, shape memory and the presence of magnetic skyrmions at room temperature. The materials growth will be carried out using the novel metallic-flux nanonucleation (MFNN) technique on pre-patterned alumina templates. Different physical characterization techniques will be used to probe the structure, morphology, magnetic, elastic and transport properties, aiming to identify the characteristic length scales below which the different phenomena are critically altered. Finally, the dynamical evolutions of these transitions, where there is still very little work performed, will be explored varying the studied frequency range since the MHz to THz regimen. Combining the extensive experience and the know-how of the research teams (IFIMUP, UNICAMP, MIT and UPV/EHU) in the synthesis and characterization of nanostructures, we intend to build a solid correlation between sample dimensions and physical properties in intermetallic compounds. (AU)

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