Unraveling the Magnetic Phase Diagram of Tsai-Type Icosahedral Quasicrystals

Quasicrystals, a type of intermetallic material, have captivated the attention of researchers in the field of condensed matter physics. Unlike regular crystals, which have a repeating pattern of atoms, quasicrystals possess non-repeating ordered patterns. This unique atomic arrangement gives rise to a multitude of exotic properties that hold great potential for practical applications in spintronics and magnetic refrigeration. Among the intriguing variants of quasicrystals is the Tsai-type icosahedral quasicrystal (iQC) and its cubic approximant crystals (ACs), which exhibit long-range ferromagnetic (FM) and anti-ferromagnetic (AFM) orders and demonstrate unconventional quantum critical phenomena. Furthermore, by fine-tuning their compositional makeup, these materials can showcase additional fascinating features such as aging, memory, and rejuvenation. Consequently, they hold promise for the development of next-generation magnetic storage devices.

Despite the significant potential of Tsai-type iQCs and ACs, much of their magnetic phase diagram remains unexplored. Recognizing the need to shed light on this subject, a team of researchers led by Professor Ryuji Tamura from the Department of Materials Science and Technology at Tokyo University of Science collaborated with experts from Tohoku University to conduct magnetization and powder neutron diffraction (PND) experiments on the non-Heisenberg Tsai-type 1/1 gold-gallium-terbium AC. Their groundbreaking findings, published in the journal Materials Today Physics, provide valuable insights into this understudied area.

One of the key accomplishments of the study was the development of the first comprehensive magnetic phase diagram of the non-Heisenberg Tsai-type AC. This diagram covers a wide range of electron-per-atom (e/a) ratios, a parameter crucial for understanding the fundamental nature of quasicrystals. By carefully manipulating the composition of the materials, the researchers were able to map out various magnetic phases and their transitions.

The application of powder neutron diffraction (PND) techniques played a crucial role in unraveling the intricate magnetic behavior of the non-Heisenberg Tsai-type AC. The experiments unveiled the presence of a noncoplanar whirling AFM order at an e/a ratio of 1.72, as well as a noncoplanar whirling FM order at an e/a ratio of 1.80. These findings shed light on the complex interplay between magnetic interactions within these quasicrystals.

Additionally, the research team delved into the ferromagnetic and anti-ferromagnetic phase selection rules governing the magnetic interactions among the quasicrystals’ atoms. By analyzing the relative orientation of magnetic moments between nearest-neighbor and next-nearest-neighbor sites, they were able to elucidate the underlying principles driving these intriguing phenomena.

Professor Tamura emphasizes that these groundbreaking findings expand our knowledge of the non-Heisenberg Tsai-type ACs and lay the foundation for understanding the captivating properties of not only these materials but also other yet-to-be-discovered non-Heisenberg iQCs. The newfound insights into the intricate interplay of magnetic interactions in these quasicrystals open up exciting new avenues for future research in the field of condensed matter physics.

The research conducted by the team led by Professor Tamura represents a significant breakthrough in our understanding of quasicrystals, particularly the Tsai-type iQC and its ACs. By unraveling the magnetic phase diagram and uncovering the presence of whirling AFM and FM orders, this study offers important insights that pave the way for the development of advanced electronic devices and next-generation refrigeration technologies. As the exploration of quasicrystals enters uncharted territories, the future holds great promise for harnessing their extraordinary properties for revolutionary applications.


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