SmFe12-based compounds have been considered as promising candidates for next generation permanent magnet materials because of their excellent intrinsic hard magnetic properties with a minimum usage of rare earth elements. However, realizing high coercivity in anisotropic microstructure is a big challenge, which hinders their practical applications. In this work, a novel anisotropic granular microstructure of Sm(Fe0.8Co0.2)12 with a sufficiently large coercivity (µ0Hc) of 1.2 T and with a high remanent magnetization of 1.50 T is demonstrated in thin films prepared by co-sputtering Sm(Fe,Co)12 with boron. Detailed microstructure characterization using high resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and atom probe tomography (APT) indicate that the addition of B leads to the development of columnar-shaped Sm(Fe0.8Co0.2)12 grains with a size of ∼40 nm, which are surrounded by ∼3 nm-thick B-enriched amorphous intergranular phase. Domain wall pinning at the amorphous grain boundary phase is attributed to the high coercivity. This work provides a guiding principle for realizing high-coercivity anisotropic SmFe12-based permanent magnets, which can outperform Nd-Fe-B magnets and could be used as the next-generation high-performance permanent magnets in various applications.
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