A novel material that may demonstrate a highly unusual "liquid" magnetic state at extremely low temperatures has been discovered by a team of Japanese and U.S. researchers, according to tomorrows issue of Science.*
A crystal diagram shows the triangle-shaped atomic structure of nickel gallium sulfide, which may have an unusual "liquid" magnetic state at low temperatures. Red spheres represent nickel, green spheres are gallium, and yellow are sulfur. Image credit: S. Nakatsuji et al., Science, 9/9/2005
Multi-colored arrows show the disordered array of magnetic spins associated with the electrons of nickel within NiGa2S4. The data were collected by precisely measuring the change in speed and direction of neutrons as they were passed through the material and interacted with the electrons. Image credit: S. Nakatsuji et al., Science, 9/9/2005
The material, nickel gallium sulfide (NiGa2S4), was synthesized by scientists at Kyoto University. Its properties were studied by both the Japanese team and by researchers from The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the University of Maryland (UM) at the Commerce Departments National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The scientists studied the polycrystalline sample using both X-rays and neutrons as probes to understand its structure and properties. The neutron experiments were conducted at the NIST Center for Neutron Research.
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