CRG - Advanced Reflectometer for the Analysis of Materials

Long-range antiferromagnetic order in epitaxial Mn2GaC thin films

The nature of the magnetic structure in magnetic so-called MAX phases is a topic of some controversy. Here we present unpolarized neutron-diffraction data between 3.4 and 290.0 K and momentum transfer between Q = 0.0 and 1.1 A-1 on epitaxial thin films of the MAX phase material Mn2GaC. This inherently layered material exhibits neutron-diffraction peaks consistent with long-ranged antiferromagnetic order with a periodicity of two structural unit cells. The magnetic structure is present throughout the measured temperature range. The results are in agreement with first-principles calculations of antiferromagnetic structures for this material where the Mn-C-Mn atomic trilayers are found to be ferromagnetically coupled internally but spin flipped or rotated across the Ga layers.

A. S. Ingason et al. PRB 94, 024416 (2016)