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Tailoring Magnetic Properties in Bulk Nanostructured Solids

  • Author(s): Morales, Jason R.
  • Advisor(s): Garay, Javier E
  • et al.
Abstract

Important magnetic properties and behaviors such as coercivity, remanence, susceptibility, energy product, and exchange coupling can be tailored by controlling the grain size, composition, and density of bulk magnetic materials. At nanometric length scales the grain size plays an increasingly important role since magnetic domain behavior and grain boundary concentration determine bulk magnetic behavior. This has spurred a significant amount of work devoted to developing magnetic materials with nanometric features (thickness, grain/crystallite size, inclusions or shells) in 0D (powder), 1D (wires), and 2D (thin films) materials. Large 3D nanocrystalline materials are more suitable for many applications such as permanent magnets, magneto-optical Faraday isolators etc. Yet there are relatively few successful demonstrations of 3D magnetic materials with nanoscale influenced properties available in the literature.

Making dense 3D bulk materials with magnetic nanocrystalline microstructures is a challenge because many traditional densification techniques (HIP, pressureless sintering, etc.) move the microstructure out of the "nano" regime during densification. This dissertation shows that the Current Activated Pressure Assisted Densification (CAPAD) method, also known as spark plasma sintering, can be used to create dense, bulk, magnetic, nanocrystalline solids with varied compositions suited to fit many applications.

The results of my research will first show important implications for the use of CAPAD for the production of exchange-coupled nanocomposite magnets. Decreases in grain size were shown to have a significant role in increasing the magnitude of exchange bias. Second, preferentially ordered bulk magnetic materials were produced with highly anisotropic material properties. The ordered microstructure resulted in changing magnetic property magnitudes (ex. change in coercivity by almost 10x) depending on the relative orientation (0° vs. 90°) of an externally applied magnetic field to the sample. Third, a dense magneto-optical material (rare earth oxide) was produced that rotates transmitted polarized light under an externally applied magnetic field, called the Faraday Effect. The magnitude of the rare earth oxide Faraday Effect surpasses that of the current market leader (terbium gallium garnet) in Faraday isolators by ~2.24x.

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