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Title: Searching for high magnetization density in bulk Fe: the new metastable Fe-6 phase

We report the discovery of a new allotrope of iron by first principles calculations. This phase has Pmn2(1) symmetry, a six-atom unit cell (hence the name Fe-6), and the highest magnetization density (M-s) among all the known crystalline phases of iron. Obtained from the structural optimizations of the Fe3C-cementite crystal upon carbon removal, Pmn2(1) Fe-6 is shown to result from the stabilization of a ferromagnetic FCC phase, further strained along the Bain path. Although metastable from 0 to 50 GPa, the new phase is more stable at low pressures than the other well-known HCP and FCC allotropes and smoothly transforms into the FCC phase under compression. If stabilized to room temperature, for example, by interstitial impurities, Fe-6 could become the basis material for high M-s rare-earth-free permament magnets and high-impact applications such as light-weight electric engine rotors or high-density recording media. The new phase could also be key to explaining the enigmatic high M-s of Fe16N2, which is currently attracting intense research activity.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Physics. Condensed Matter; Journal Volume: 27; Journal Issue: 1
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)
Country of Publication:
United States