Transformation Paths from Cubic to Low-Symmetry Structures in Heusler Ni2MnGa Compound
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In order to explain the formation of low-temperature phases in stoichiometric Ni2MnGa magnetic shape memory alloy, we investigate the phase transformation paths from cubic austenite with Heusler structure to low-symmetry martensitic structures. We used ab initio calculations combined with the generalized solid state nudged elastic band method to determine the minimum energy path and corresponding changes in crystal lattice. The four-, five-, and seven-layered modulated phases of martensite (4O, 10M, and 14M) are built as the relaxed nanotwinned non-modulated (NM) phase. Despite having a total energy larger than the other martensitic phases, the 10M phase will spontaneously form at 0 K, because there is no energy barrier on the path and the energy decreases with a large negative slope. Moreover, a similar negative slope in the beginning of path is found also for the transformation to the 6M premartensite, which appears as a local minimum on the path leading further to 10M martensite. Transformation paths to other structures exhibit more or less significant barriers in the beginning hindering such a transformation from austenite. These findings correspond to experiment and demonstrates that the kinetics of the transformation is decisive for the selection of the particular low-symmetry structure.
Document typePeer reviewed
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SourceScientific Reports. 2018, vol. 8, issue 1, p. 1-8.