Phenomenological Theory of Magnetic Ordering: Importance of Interactions with the Crystal Lattice

  • Bernard R. Cooper


The diverse, and sometimes exotic, magnetic behavior of the rare earth elements and their alloys as observed in the past fifteen or so years is basically understood in terms of a very simple physical picture. The key element of this picture is that one makes a sharp distinction between localized, magnetic, 4f electrons and outer-shell conduction electrons; and one takes the magnetic system for these metals as a lattice of localized tripositive rare earth ions (divalent for Eu) with moments corresponding to the unfilled 4f shells. (The ionic moment is quite well given by the application of Hund’s rules so that in general, J, the total spin plus orbital angular momentum, is treated as a good quantum number for the magnetic system of tripositive ions.) This lattice of localized ions, with their corresponding localized moments, is then immersed in a sea of conduction electrons to which each rare-earth atom contributes its three outer electrons. This picture is excellent for the heavy rare earth metals(1, 2) (gadolinium through thulium), and is reasonably good for most of the light rare earths. (The most complex behavior in the rare earth series, requiring concepts beyond those of this simple picture, is found for the end members, cerium and ytterbium.)


Rare Earth Spin Wave Phenomenological Theory Molecular Field Planar Anisotropy 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard R. Cooper
    • 1
  1. 1.General Electric Research and Development CenterSchenectadyUSA

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