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KAIST develops wireless power transfer tech for high capacity transit

February 13, 2013 9:51 am | News | Comments

Engineers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Korea Railroad Research Institute have designed a wireless technology that can be applied to high capacity transportation systems such as railways, harbor freight, and airport transportation, and logistics. The technology supplies 60 kHz and 180 kW of power remotely to transport vehicles at a stable, constant rate.

New MRI technique has ability to scan individual cells

February 12, 2013 7:35 am | News | Comments

Researchers have recently demonstrated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the molecular scale through the use of artificial atoms, diamond nanoparticles doped with nitrogen impurity. Conventional MRI responds to the magnetic fields of atomic nuclei, but this new method improves resolution nearly one million times, allowing scientists to probe very weak magnetic fields such as those generated in some biological molecules and even proteins.

Study: First evidence that magnetism helps salmon find home

February 11, 2013 9:24 am | News | Comments

When migrating, sockeye salmon typically swim up to 4,000 miles into the ocean and then, years later, navigate back to the upstream reaches of the rivers in which they were born to spawn their young. Scientists have long wondered how salmon find their way to their home rivers over such epic distances. A new study suggests that salmon find their home rivers by sensing the rivers' unique magnetic signature.

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New magnetoelectric materials classes may improve computing

February 8, 2013 8:12 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

Research by an international team of physicists has produced new methods for controlling magnetic order in a particular class of materials known as "magnetoelectrics", which have their magnetic and electric properties couple to each other. This link offers the possibility of controlling electric behavior with a magnetic signal, or vice versa. Scientists recently demonstrated this ability in europium-titanium oxide.

Magnetic nanovehicles control, target drug release in the body

January 28, 2013 10:57 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Switzerland have designed tiny vessels that are capable of releasing active agents in the body. These “nanovehicles” are made from a liposome just 100 to 200 nm in diameter. By attaching magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles to the surface, scientists are able to target the vessel, heating it up to release the drug.

Liquid crystal’s chaotic inner dynamics

January 24, 2013 4:08 pm | News | Comments

Physicists have recently demonstrated that the application of a very strong alternating electric field to thin liquid crystal cells leads to a new distinct nonlinear dynamic effect in the response of the cells. Researchers were able to explain this result through spatio-temporal chaos theory. The finding has implications for the operation of liquid crystal devices because their operation depends on electro-optic switch phenomena.

Quantitative magneto-mechanical made possible by the Barkhausen Effect

January 17, 2013 9:45 pm | News | Comments

The Barkhausen Effect is the noise in the magnetic output of a ferromagnet when the magnetizing force applied to it is changed. Almost 100 years after its initial discovery, a team of scientists in Alberta have harnessed this effect as a new kind of high-resolution microscopy for the insides of magnetic materials.

Chaotic “spin vortices” could lead to new computer memories

January 3, 2013 7:56 am | News | Comments

In science, just like in life, sometimes creating the most effective organization depends on being able to handle just a bit of chaos first. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have used alternating magnetic fields to control the behavior of "spin vortices" trapped in small dots made from iron and nickel that can be magnetized in two separate ways.

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Researchers discover a new kind of magnetism

December 20, 2012 7:39 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Following up on earlier theoretical predictions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have now demonstrated experimentally the existence of a fundamentally new kind of magnetic behavior, adding to the two previously known states of magnetism.

Physicists achieve elusive “evaporative cooling” of molecules

December 19, 2012 1:55 pm | News | Comments

Evaporative cooling has long been used to cool atoms, but it has never before been done by molecules—two different atoms bonded together. Achieving a goal considered nearly impossible, JILA physicists have done this, chilling a gas of molecules to very low temperatures by adapting the familiar process by which a hot cup of coffee cools.

New insight into an intriguing state of magnetism

December 18, 2012 11:14 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists has studied magnons in a material that becomes helimagnetic below about 30 K: iron silicide doped with cobalt. They investigated how helimagnons evolve as the temperature increases, destroying the magnetic order, as well as how the magnetic phases are affected by an external magnetic field.

Engineers roll up inductors to save space

December 14, 2012 10:09 am | News | Comments

Inductors are essential components of integrated circuits. The sprawling metal spirals store magnetic energy, acting as a buffer against changes in current and modulating frequency. However, because inductance depends on the number of coils, they take up a lot of space. Researchers have recently build a 3D rolled-up inductor with a footprint more than 100 times smaller without sacrificing performance.

Computer memory could increase fivefold with self-assembly

November 13, 2012 7:39 pm | News | Comments

Engineers in Texas have adopted the nanoscale fabrication technique of directed self-assembly to increase the surface storage density of hard disk drives. The method, which relies on block copolymers, is able to organize magnetic dots into patterns far finer than existing methods. And it does so without risking the integrity of the magnetic fields.   

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Vortex beams produce electron microscopy with a twist

November 5, 2012 3:55 pm | News | Comments

In a tornado, the individual air particles do not necessarily rotate on their own axis, but the air suction overall creates a powerful rotation. Similar vortex beams are being used in electron microscopy to allow researchers to determine the angular momentum of materials under examination. This ability provides valuable information about a material’s magnetic field. Researchers in Austria have recently produced particularly intense vortex beams.

Earth’s brief polarity reversal linked to other extreme events

October 16, 2012 12:45 pm | News | Comments

For the first time, three separately found extreme Earth events have been compared by researchers who now believe they may be linked. About 41,000 years ago, a complete and rapid reversal of the geomagnetic field occurred, lasting for just a few hundred years. Around the same time, a super volcano erupted and major climate changes occurred.

Researcher aims to understand strange secrets of magnetotactic bacteria

October 16, 2012 8:44 am | News | Comments

Magnetotactic bacteria are organisms which develop membrane-encapsulated nano-particles known as magnetosomes. Although these microbes were first discovered in 1975, the production of their magnetite crystals is still not fully understood. A researcher in the U.K. is now using computational simulation tools to discover how magnetosomes allow bacteria to orient themselves along the Earth’s magnetic field lines.

X-ray laser reveals fast demagnetization in ferromagnets

October 4, 2012 4:42 am | News | Comments

Magnetized iron can be demagnetized extremely quickly (just a few hundred femtoseconds) when it is radiated with laser light pulses. Researchers in Europe have used x-ray light to reveal a new cause for this loss of magnetism. They found that electrons can move very quickly between areas with different magnetization and polarization, thereby influencing the demagnetization of the material. The effect could play a decisive role in reducing the size of magnetic memories.

Smart fluids could allow chips to assemble themselves

September 19, 2012 4:38 am | by Karen B. Roberts | News | Comments

A University of Delaware research team’s exploration of paramagnetic colloids—microscopic particles that are mere hundredths the diameter of a human hair—has produced the possibility that computer chips could one day build themselves in a scalable fashion. By applying a magnetic field to the colloids, the team build organized crystalline lattices from random solids.

Researchers introduce method for imaging defects in magnetic nanodevices

September 14, 2012 5:24 am | News | Comments

An international team of researchers have demonstrated a microscopy method to identify magnetic defects in an array of magnetic nanostructures. The method represents an important step towards identifying, measuring, and correcting the magnetic properties of defective devices in future information storage technologies.

How to clean up oil spills

September 12, 2012 3:38 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new technique for magnetically separating oil and water that could be used to clean up oil spills. They believe that, with their technique, the oil could be recovered for use, offsetting much of the cleanup cost.

Magnetic insulator shows way to dissipationless electronics

August 20, 2012 8:01 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers at in Japan has demonstrated a new material that promises to eliminate loss in electrical power transmission. Their methodology for solving this classic energy problem is based on a highly exotic type of magnetic semiconductor first theorized less than a decade ago—a magnetic topological insulator.

IBM “waltzes” closer to using spintronics in computing

August 13, 2012 3:01 pm | News | Comments

Scientists at IBM Research and ETH Zurich in Switzerland report that they are the first to synchronize electron spins and image the formation of a persistent spin helix in a semiconductor. Until now, it was unclear whether electron spins could preserve encoded information long enough before rotating. This new work extends spin lifetime 30-fold, to 1.1 nanosec.

Discovery a big step toward room-temperature multiferroics

August 10, 2012 4:24 am | News | Comments

Multiferroics are expected to be applied to a new type of memory devices in which dielectric polarization is controlled by a magnetic field and magnetization is controlled by an electric field. However, multiferroic materials that function at room temperature are rare. In a breakthrough toward this goal, a  team in Japan and the U.K. have achieved ferroelectric polarization without a magnetic field after discovering that they could swap out atoms and still maintain control of the multiferroic’s dielectric and magnetic properties.

High-performance magnetic coupling research wins Navy grant

August 2, 2012 5:38 am | News | Comments

Traditional mechanical couplings and gears require lubrication, generate heat, emit vibrations and sound, suffer from structural wear and require significant maintenance. Correlated Magnetics Research has been tasked with a Small Business Innovation Research grant to design and develop high-torque magnetic couplings to produce quiet, maintenance free, power-transfer linkages for Naval systems and industrial applications.

MRAM could bridge memory gap

August 1, 2012 12:01 pm | News | Comments

Computers often do not run as fast as they should because they are constantly transferring information between two kinds of memory: a fast, volatile memory connected to the CPU, and a slow, non-volatile memory that remembers data even when switched off. A special class of universal memory called spin-transfer torque magnetic random access memory (MRAM) being explored by researchers in Singapore could help avoid this bottleneck.

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