Novel ferromagnetic materials

Master project

Novel ferromagnetic materials: synthesis and characterization

The aim of this project is to synthesize and characterize new ferromagnetic materials for future applications. Iron and magnetite (Fe3O4) have been the most known magnetic materials and since the last century more magnetic materials were found and synthesized. They are used for magnetic storage in for example computer hard disks or for permanent magnet applications like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). A new application is called magnetocalorics, and refers to the magnetocaloric effect where a ferromagnetic material changes temperature as function of an applied external magnetic field.

In the context of this last application we are developing new magnetic materials. Permanent magnet materials like Nd2Fe14B contain rare earth elements and are therefore expensive and can easily become scarce. We are looking for materials which can compete with the current magnetic materials and are also cheaper to produce.

In this project you will learn how to synthesize new intermetallic materials using arc-melting and how to do post processing using melt spinning and annealing. Characterization will be done using powder X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence and thermal analysis. Basic knowledge about bonding in solids, crystallography, thermodynamics (phase diagrams), band theory and magnetism is required.