X-ray diffraction study of the pressure-induced bcc-to-hcp phase transition in the highly magnetostrictive Fe0.81Ga0.19 alloy
High-pressure x-ray diffraction measurements were performed at room temperature on single crystals of the highly magnetostrictive alloy Fe0.81Ga0.19 (galfenol). This alloy has a bcc crystal structure at ambient pressure but undergoes a bcc-to-hcp phase transition at 24 GPa on compression. A large hysteresis loop is observed in which the reversed transition occurs at 13 GPa on decompression. The midpoint of this transition is 18.5 GPa. The measured bulk modulus of this material is 182 (+/- 17) GPa, which is comparable to that of pure iron. As with iron, the hcp structure of the alloy can be derived from a compression of the bcc lattice along  that is accompanied by shearing along [1 (1) over bar0]. Our results indicate that the addition of Ga shifts the bcc-to-hcp transition from 13 GPa in pure iron to 18.5 GPa, and we speculate that this is due to the larger atomic radius of Ga. A uniaxial loading of 3 GPa completely suppresses the diffuse scattering in Fe0.81Ga0.19. We ascertain that the magnetostrictive properties of the alloy are reduced under pressure.