Functional Magnetic Materials
Magnetic materials are an essential part of our everyday life. Data storage, communication, and especially green energy production and electrical engines rely on magnetic materials based on high performance magnets which often contain critical components. Huge efforts are made to find suitable non-hazardous replacements. A new emerging field for magnetic materials is magnetic refrigeration. This can be an efficient way to cool environments, both homes as well as fridges and freezers in the future.
Today computational simulation plays an inherent role in understanding and optimizing materials properties. We study fundamental properties of magnetic materials for applications in permanent magnets (PM), magnetic cooling (magneto-caloric effect (MCE)), and spintronics based on density functional theory in combination with atomistic spin-dynamics, and Monte Carlo solvers. For PM the key task is to identify new uniaxial phases which have the same characteristics as today's PM but contain much less critical material i.e. rare earth. In case of the MCE fundamental understanding is addressed by investigating materials which show first order (often metamagnetic) magnetic phase transition.