Aug 4, 2023

Scientists discover unusual ultrafast motion in layered magnetic materials

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

A common metal paper clip will stick to a magnet. Scientists classify such iron-containing materials as ferromagnets. A little over a century ago, physicists Albert Einstein and Wander de Haas reported a surprising effect with a ferromagnet. If you suspend an iron cylinder from a wire and expose it to a magnetic field, it will start rotating if you simply reverse the direction of the magnetic field.

“Einstein and de Haas’s experiment is almost like a magic show,” said Haidan Wen, a physicist in the Materials Science and X-ray Science divisions of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. “You can cause a cylinder to rotate without ever touching it.”

In Nature, a team of researchers from Argonne and other U.S. national laboratories and universities now report an analogous yet different effect in an “anti”-ferromagnet. This could have important applications in devices requiring ultra-precise and ultrafast motion control. One example is high-speed nanomotors for biomedical applications, such as use in nanorobots for minimally invasive diagnosis and surgery.

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