Revealing the hidden structural phases of FeRh
Ab initio electronic structure calculations reveal that tetragonal distortion has a dramatic effect on the relative stability of the various magnetic structures (C-, A-, G-, A′-AFM, and FM) of FeRh giving rise to a wide range of novel stable/metastable structures and magnetic phase transitions between these states. We predict that the cubic G-AFM structure, which was believed thus far to be the ground state, is metastable and that the tetragonally expanded G-AFM is the stable structure. The low energy barrier separating these states suggests phase coexistence at room temperature. We propose an A′-AFM phase to be the global ground state among all magnetic phases which arises from the strain-induced tuning of the exchange interactions. The results elucidate the underlying mechanism for the recent experimental findings of electric-field control of magnetic phase transition driven via tetragonal strain. The magnetic phase transitions open interesting prospects for exploiting strain engineering for the next-generation memory devices. © 2016 American Physical Society.
Physical Review B
Year of Publication