Date of this Version
Rare-earth permanent magnets are used extensively in numerous technical applications, e.g. wind turbines, audio speakers, and hybrid/electric vehicles. The demand and production of rare-earth permanent magnets in the world has in the past decades increased significantly. However, the decrease in export of rare-earth elements from China in recent time has led to a renewed interest in developing rare-earth free permanent magnets. Elements such as Fe and Co have potential, due to their high magnetization, to be used as hosts in rare-earth free permanent magnets but a major challenge is to increase their magnetocrystalline anisotropy constant, K1, which largely drives the coercivity. Theoretical calculations indicate that dissolving the 5d transition metal W in Fe or Co increases the magnetocrystalline anisotropy. The challenge, though, is in creating a solid solution in hcp Co or bcc Fe, which under equilibrium conditions have negligible solubility.
In this dissertation, the formation, structure, and magnetic properties of sub-10 nm Co-W clusters with W content ranging from 4 to 24 atomic percent were studied. Co-W alloy clusters with extended solubility of W in hcp Co were produced by inert gas condensation. The different processing conditions such as the cooling scheme and sputtering power were found to control the structural state of the as-deposited Co-W clusters. For clusters formed in the water-cooled formation chamber, the mean size and the fraction crystalline clusters increased with increasing power, while the fraction of crystalline clusters formed in the liquid nitrogen-cooled formation chamber was not as affected by the sputtering power. For the low W content clusters, the structural characterization revealed clusters predominantly single crystalline hcp Co(W) structure, a significant extension of W solubility when compared to the equilibrium solubility, but fcc Co(W) and Co3W structures were observed in very small and large clusters, respectively. At high W content, clusters with hcp Co(W), fcc Co(W) or Co3W structures were observed.
The magnetic measurements at 10 K and 300 K revealed that the coercivity, saturation magnetization and magnetocrystalline anisotropy of the clusters formed in the water-cooled formation chamber were higher than for clusters formed in the liquid nitrogen-cooled formation chamber. The coercivity and magnetocrystalline anisotropy of the clusters increased as long as W was dissolved into the hcp Co structure. With increasing fraction of Co3W and fcc Co(W) clusters, as observed in the high-W content sample, the magnetic properties deteriorated significantly. The highest coercivity and magnetocrystalline anisotropy of 893 Oe and 3.9 x 106 ergs/cm3, respectively, was obtained at 10 K for the 5 at.% W clusters sputtered at 150 W in the water-cooled formation chamber.
Adviser: Jeffrey E. Shield