Single crystals of (Nd1-xCex)2Fe14B are grown out of Fe-(Nd,Ce) flux.
Chemical and structural analysis of the crystals indicates that
(Nd1-xCex)2Fe14B forms a solid solution until at least x = 0.38 with a
Vegard-like variation of the lattice constants with x. Refinements of single
crystal neutron diffraction data indicate that Ce has a slight site preference
(7:3) for the 4g rare earth site over the 4f site. Magnetization measurements
show that for x = 0.38 the saturation magnetization at 400 K, a temperature
important to applications, falls from 29.8 for the parent Nd2Fe14B to 27.6
(mu)B/f.u., the anisotropy field decreases from 5.5 T to 4.7 T, and the Curie
temperature decreases from 586 to 543 K. First principles calculations carried
out within density functional theory are used to explain the decrease in
magnetic properties due to Ce substitution. Though the presence of the
lower-cost and more abundant Ce slightly affects these important magnetic
characteristics, this decrease is not large enough to affect a multitude of
applications. Ce-substituted Nd2Fe14B is therefore a potential high-performance
permanent magnet material with substantially reduced Nd content.