We have revealed the underlying mechanism of the martensitic phase transition (MPT) in a new class of ferromagnetic shape memory alloys, Ni2Mn1+xSn1-x, by the combination of bulk-sensitive hard-x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and a first-principles density-functional calculation. The Ni 3d eg state in the cubic phase systematically shifts towards the Fermi energy with an increase in the number of Mn atoms substituted in the Sn sites. An abrupt decrease of the intensity of the Ni 3d eg states upon MPT for x=0.36-0.42 has been observed in the vicinity of the Fermi level. The energy shift of the Ni 3d minority-spin eg state in the cubic phase originates from hybridization with the antiferromagnetically coupled Mn in the Sn site. Below the MPT temperature, the Ni 3d state splits into two levels located below and above the Fermi energy in order to achieve an energetically stable state.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)