Two polycrystalline samples were made by using high purity Gd and commercial Gd, respectively, but with Si and Ge starting materials of the same purity in both cases. Thermal expansion results showed that both samples exhibited a first order phase transformation, with a discontinuity in thermally-induced strain and with hysteresis in the Curie temperature.Magnetic force microscopy has been used to demonstrate the magnetic phase transformation process from paramagnetic to ferromagnetic upon cooling. It was found that the Curie temperature was lower and the thermally-induced strain higher, in the sample made from lower purity level Gd starting materials compared with the sample made from high purity Gd metal. These results indicate that the impurities (mainly C, O, N, and F) in the Gd starting material can significantly alter the strain and Curie temperature of Gd5(SixGe1−x)4alloys.
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