Crystal structure and magnetic properties of Heusler alloys MnXNiSn (X = Mn, Fe, Co) are investigated using density functional theory and compared with experimental results. The parent alloy Mn2NiSn, which crystallizes in the inverse Heusler structure, is found to be ferrimagnetic, in agreement with previous experimental and theoretical work. The Fe and Co substitutions cause the alloys to assume a fairly well-ordered Y structure and enhance the magnetization substantially. We find that the strong nearest neighbour Mn-X exchange changes from antiferromagnetic (X = Mn) to ferromagnetic (X = Fe, Co), which explains and actually overestimates the experimental changes. A striking feature of the system is that Fe and Co have opposite effects on the Curie temperature Tc: They reduce and enhance Tc, respectively. We qualitatively explain this behaviour in terms of two-sublattice model based on the nearest-neighbour exchange.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)