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The applicability of the magnetic shape memory effect in Ni-Mn-based martensitic Heusler alloys is closely related to the nature of the crystallographically modulated martensite phase in these materials. We study the properties of modulated phases as a function of temperature and composition in three magnetic shape memory alloys Ni MnGa, Ni MnGa and Ni MnGa. The effect of substituting Ga for Mn leads to an anisotropic expansion of the lattice, where the -parameter of the 5M modulated structure increases and the and -parameters decrease with increasing Ga concentration. The modulation vector is found to be both temperature and composition dependent. The size of the modulation vector corresponds to an incommensurate structure for Ni MnGa at all temperatures. For the other samples the modulation is incommensurate at low temperatures but reaches a commensurate value of ≈ 0.400 close to room temperature. The results show that commensurateness of the 5M modulated structure is a special case of incommensurate 5M at a particular temperature.


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