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Room temperature x-ray diffraction, dc magnetization, and ac susceptibility measurements have been performed on a series of Mn rich Ni50 Mn37-x Crx Sb13 and Ni50+x Mn37-x Sb13 Heusler alloys. Depending on the value of x, the room temperature crystal structures of the samples are either L2 1 cubic or orthorhombic. It is a commonly accepted idea that the martensitic transition temperatures in Ni-Mn-Z (Z = Ga, In, Sb, Sn) based Heusler alloys decrease (increase) with decreasing (increasing) valence electron concentration, e/a. However, the present work shows that regardless of the change in e/a, the martensitic transition temperature (T M) decreases with increasing Cr or Ni concentration. These results support the model where, in the case of Mn rich Heusler alloys, it is the hybridization between the Ni atoms and the Mn atoms in the Z sites that plays the dominant role in driving the martensitic transformation. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.

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Applied Physics Letters