High-resolution alternating-field technique to determine the magnetocaloric effect of metals down to very low temperatures

Rev Sci Instrum. 2011 Jan;82(1):013905. doi: 10.1063/1.3529433.


The magnetocaloric effect or "magnetic Grüneisen ratio" Γ(H)=T(-1)(dT/dH)(S) quantifies the cooling or heating of a material when an applied magnetic field is changed under adiabatic conditions. Recently, this property has attracted considerable interest in the field of quantum criticality. Here, we report the development of a low-frequency alternating-field technique for measurements of the magnetocaloric effect down to very low temperatures, which is an important property for the study of quantum critical points. We focus, in particular, on highly conducting metallic samples and discuss the influence of eddy current heating. By comparison with magnetization and specific heat measurements, we demonstrate that our fast and accurate technique gives quantitatively correct values for the magnetocaloric effect under truly adiabatic conditions.