Giant Magnetocaloric effect and Magnetic Properties of selected Rare-Earth compounds
Rare-earth (RE) compounds have been an attractive subject, based on the unique electronic structures of the rare-earth elements. In particular, the RETX (RE = rare-earth, T = 3d/4d/5d, transition metals, and X = p – block elements) series is a large family of intermetallic compounds which crystallizes in different crystal structure depending on the constituents. Most of these compounds crystalize in the hexagonal, orthorhombic, and tetragonal crystal structure. On the other hand, the family of compounds RET2X2 adopted the tetragonal crystal structure of the ThCr2Si2 or the CaBe2Be2 with different space groups. Owing to the different crystal structure, these compounds show versatile magnetic and electrical properties such as Kondo effect, complex magnetic behaviour, valence fluctuation, unconventional and conventional superconductivity, heavy fermion behaviour, Fermi and non – Fermi liquid behaviour, metamagnetism, spin – glass, memory effect, crystal electric field (CEF), magnetoresistance and magnetocaloric effect. The history of magnetism reveals that it is closely related to practical applications and magnetic materials from the most vital components in many applications. These are memory devices, permanent magnets, transformer cores, magneto-mechanical devices and magneto-electronic devices. Recent additions to this list include magnetic refrigeration through the studies of magnetocaloric effect as well as spintronics. Magnetic refrigeration (MR) is an emerging technology and shows real potential to enter conventional markets and the principles of MR obeys the magnetocaloric effect (MCE), which is based on the effect caused by a magnetic field on the materials that accept the property of varying the magnetic entropy, as well as its temperature when varying the magnetic field. In this thesis, we report giant magnetocaloric effect and magnetic properties of NdPd2Al2 and RECuGa (RE = Nd, Dy, and Ho) compounds. These investigations were done through measurements of X – ray diffraction (XRD), magnetic susceptibility, ((T)), magnetization, (M(H)), isothermal magnetization, (M(H, T)), heat capacity, (Cp(T)) and electrical resistivity, ((T)). MCE has been studied from the isothermal magnetization and heat capacity measurements.The first chapter of the thesis describes the theoretical background from which the experimental results have been analyzed and interpreted. This is followed by the chapter which presents experimental details and methodology carried out in this thesis. Chapter three presents the results and discussion of the transport, magnetic and magnetocaloric properties of NdPd2Al2 compounds. XRD studies confirm the tetragonal CaBe2Ge2 – type structure with space group P4/nmm (No. 129). The results of (T), (T) and Cp(T) indicate a putative antiferromagnetic (AFM) phase transition at low temperature at, TN = 3 K. On the other hand, (T) data at high temperatures follow the Curie – Weiss relationship giving an effective magnetic moment close to that expected for the trivalent Nd3+ ion. The magnetization results indicate metamagnetic – like transition at a low field that bears a first-order character which corroborates with the Below – Arrott plots. Giant MCE was obtained for the NdPd2Al2 compound similar to those reported for potential magnetic refrigerant materials. Chapter four discusses the magnetic and thermodynamic properties of the series of compounds RECuGa where RE = Nd, Dy, and Ho. XRD studies indicate the orthorhombic CeCu2 – type crystal structure with space group Imma (No. 74) for all three compounds. Magnetic measurements indicate a putative AFM phase transition below 𝑇𝑁 = 7.1, 8.5, and 3.7 K for Nd, Dy, and Ho compounds, respectively. The high-temperature (T) data for all three compounds follow the Curie – Weiss relationship giving an effective magnetic moment close to that expected for the trivalent rare-earth ion. Again, large MCE were obtained for all three compounds similar to those reported for materials that can be used as magnetic refrigerant materials.