Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version

May 2000


Published by American Institute of Physics. J. Applied Physics 87, 4756 (2000). ©2000 American Institute of Physics. Permission to use.


The Curie temperature and the local spontaneous magnetization of ferromagnetic nanocomposites are investigated. The macroscopic character of the critical fluctuations responsible for the onset of ferromagnetic order means that there is only one Curie temperature, independent of the number of magnetic phases present. The Curie temperature increases with the grain size and is, in general, larger than predicted from the volume averages of the exchange constants. However, the Curie-temperature enhancement is accompanied by a relative reduction of the spontaneous magnetization. Due to the quadratic dependence of the permanent-magnet energy product on the spontaneous magnetization, this amounts to a deterioration of the magnets performance. The length scale on which an effective intergranular exchange coupling is realized (coupling length) depends on the Curie-temperature difference between the phases and on the spacial distribution of the local interatomic exchange. As a rule, it is of the order of a few interatomic distances; for much bigger grain sizes the structures mimic an interaction-free ensemble of different ferromagnetic materials. This must be compared to the magnetic-anisotropy coupling length, which is of the order of 10 nm. The difference is explained by the nonrelativistic character of the Curie-temperature problem.

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