Crystal Structure and Properties of Heusler Alloys: A Comprehensive Review

Heusler alloys, which were unintentionally discovered at the start of the 20th century, have become intriguing materials for many extraordinary functional applications in the 21st century, including smart devices, spintronics, magnetic refrigeration and the shape memory effect. With this review article, we would like to provide a comprehensive review on the recent progress in the development of Heusler alloys, especially Ni-Mn based ones, focusing on their structural crystallinity, order-disorder atoms, phase changes and magnetic ordering atoms. The characterization of the different structures of these types of materials is needed, where a detailed exploration of the crystal structure is presented, encompassing the influence of temperature and compositional variations on the exhibited phases. Hence, this class of materials, present at high temperatures, consist of an ordered austenite with a face-centered cubic (FCC) superlattice as an L21 structure, or body-centered cubic (BCC) unit cell as a B2 structure. However, a low-temperature martensite structure can be produced as an L10, 10M or 14M martensite structures. The crystal lattice structure is highly dependent on the specific elements comprising the alloy. Additionally, special emphasis is placed on phase transitions within Heusler alloys, including martensitic transformations ranging above, near or below room temperature and magnetic transitions. Therefore, divers’ crystallographic defects can be presented in such types of materials affecting their structural and magnetic properties. Moreover, an important property of Heusler compounds, which is the ability to regulate the valence electron concentration through element substitution, is discussed. The possible challenges and remaining issues are briefly discussed ​
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