Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Envision High-Tech Applications for 'Multiferroic' Crystals

15.02.2010
Two of The Florida State University’s most accomplished scientists recently joined forces on a collaborative research project that has yielded groundbreaking results involving an unusual family of crystalline minerals.

Their findings could lay the groundwork for future researchers seeking to develop a new generation of computer chips and other information-storage devices that can hold vast amounts of data and be strongly encrypted for security purposes.

Working with a team of researchers from various disciplines, Naresh S. Dalal and Sir Harold W. “Harry” Kroto, both world-renowned chemists and educators, took a close look at a family of crystals known as metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs. Employing both laboratory experimentation and computational analysis, they found that four such crystals possessed properties that rarely coexist.

“We identified these four crystals as ‘multiferroic,’ meaning that they are simultaneously ferromagnetic and ferroelectric in nature when cooled to a specific temperature,” said Dalal, Florida State’s Dirac Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. (Ferromagnetism means a material possesses magnetic poles, while ferroelectricity refers to a material that possesses positive and negative electrical charges that can be reversed when an external electrical field is applied.)

“Normally, these two properties are mutually exclusive,” Dalal said. “Most materials are either ferromagnetic or ferroelectric based on the number of electrons in the ion’s outer electron shell. Therefore, finding four multiferroic materials at one time is quite scientifically significant and opens numerous doors in terms of potential applications.”

Multiferroic materials have been a hot topic of research in recent years, with researchers finding applications in the areas of hydrogen storage and the design of advanced optical elements, among others. Kroto sees another potential use: in the creation of high-powered computer memories and other data storage devices that can hold far more information than is currently possible.

“Theoretically, it might be possible to design devices that are much smaller and faster than the ones we use today to store and transmit data,” said Kroto, a Francis Eppes Professor in Florida State’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “And with data split over two mediums, information could be encrypted in a way that makes it far more secure than is currently possible. This could have wide-ranging applications in areas as diverse as the aeronautics industry, the military, the workplace and even the average consumer’s home.”

Dalal pointed to another possible benefit — high-tech devices that make far less of an environmental impact.

“The four new multiferroic crystals that we have identified all substitute other, less toxic metals for lead, which is a potent neurotoxin,” he said. “By reducing the amount of lead that enters landfills, we also reduce the amount that enters our water supply — and our bodies.”

Dalal, Kroto and their colleagues recently published a paper on their findings in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). Their research was then summarized in a second article published in the prestigious international science journal Nature — a powerful symbol of the significance with which their findings have been greeted within the worldwide scientific community.

“On the basis of the type of materials research I was keen to initiate here at Florida State, it was natural to collaborate with Dr. Dalal due to his deep understanding of the complexities of phase transitions,” Kroto said. “It is in particular the subtle aspects of phase behavior, well beyond those traditional ones exhibited by normal gases, liquids and solids, that led to this work being highlighted recently by Nature and Angewandte Chemie.” (The latter is a prominent, peer-reviewed scientific journal that reviews all aspects of chemistry.)

In addition to Dalal and Kroto, other collaborators from Florida State were Ronald J. Clark, an emeritus professor of chemistry and biochemistry who continues to conduct research; Prashant Jain, a graduate research assistant; and Vasanth Ramachandran, a graduate teaching assistant. Additional researchers were Haidong Zhou, an assistant scholar/scientist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee; Anthony K. Cheetham, Professor of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge in England; and Brian H. Toby, a senior physicist at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

In the world of science, Dalal and Kroto are known as scientific heavy hitters, each with decades of research experience and scores of professional accolades to his credit. Kroto is perhaps best known as one of three recipients of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry and Biochemistry for his co-discovery of buckminsterfullerene, a form of pure carbon better known as “buckyballs.” He came to Florida State in 2004 after 37 years at the University of Sussex in England. Dalal, meanwhile, was recognized in 2007 as one of the top scientists in the southern United States by the Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society, which selected him to receive its Southern Chemist Award. That same year, he was named the top chemist in Florida by the Florida Section of the American Chemical Society, which bestowed upon him its annual Florida Award.

CONTACT: Naresh S. Dalal; (850) 644-3398, ndalal@fsu.edu
or Harold W. Kroto; (850) 644-8274, hkroto@fsu.edu

Naresh S. Dalal | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.fsu.edu

Further reports about: Biochemistry CHEMISTRY Envision Merit Award Nature Immunology Nobel Prize crystals

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk
20.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

nachricht Treated carbon pulls radioactive elements from water
20.01.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>