The off-stoichiometric Heusler alloys, such as Ni50Mn25+yX25-y (X = Sn, In, Ga, etc.), have been extensively investigated using a variety of experimental techniques to probe their interesting and potentially useful magnetic properties. Recent 55Mn nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments, carried out largely in zero field (ZF) and making use of the large internal hyperfine field at the nuclear sites, have demonstrated the power of this approach in determining the ground state magnetic characteristics of these materials. In particular, the results reveal that distinct nanoscale ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic phases coexist. A key parameter used in interpreting the NMR data is the transverse relaxation time T2 which, inter alia, determines the NMR blocking temperature TBNMR of magnetic regions. The present experiments on a polycrystalline sample of a specific illustrative alloy, Ni43Co7Mn40Sn10, which has received considerable attention, show that the application of relatively small external fields, comparable to or greater than the local anisotropy field in the ferromagnetic cluster regions, produces dramatic changes in T2 and hence TBNMR. The experimental findings are discussed using an extended version of a recently proposed nanocluster model for superparamagnetic systems. It is demonstrated that the field and temperature induced changes in T2 provide a significant test of the model and lead to a notable advance in applying the NMR technique to the investigation of the magnetic properties of this type of alloy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The work at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory was supported by NSF DMR-1157490 and by the State of Florida. Work at UMN in C.L.'s group was supported by DOE under Award No. DE-FG02-06ER46275. Work in R.D.J.'s group was supported by AFOSR-MURI (FA9550-12-1-0458), NSF-PIRE (OISE-0967140), and ONR (N00014-14-1-0714)