Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The mesoscopic tunnelling of magnetization: A historic milestone in twentieth-century science

09.12.2008
The tunnel effect of magnetization, a highly unusual property of the world of quantum mechanics discovered by the Magnetism Group of the Department of Fundamental Physics at the University of Barcelona (UB), led by Professor Javier Tejada (Castejón, 1948), in cooperation with groups from the City University of New York and the firm Xerox, has been acknowledged as one of the milestones in the study of spin of the twentieth century in the special collection Milestones in Spin, published by the leading scientific journal Nature.

This is the first time that a Spanish physicist has received credit in this country as the discoverer of a new physical phenomenon: the mesoscopic tunnelling of magnetization in molecular magnets (Physical Review Letters, 1996). This scientific breakthrough has now made its way into textbooks on magnetism.

It explains how the magnetic poles of small magnets, formed by millions of atoms, at very low temperatures, can change orientation due to the tunnel effect and without any energy expenditure. Now, the journal Nature has recognized this discovery as a historic milestone in the science of spin (the property of elementary particles to rotate around their axis in relation to their magnetic field).

Milestones in Spin also records the contributions of great figures in the world of physics, such as Nobel Prize winners Albert Einstein (1921); Paul A. M. Dirac (1933); Otto Stern (1943); Felix Bloch and E. M. Purcell (1952), Douglas Osheroff, Robert Richardson and David Lee (1996); Frank Wilczek, David Gross and David Politzer (2004), and Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg (2007).

The uncertainty principle governs the world of quantum physics: it is impossible to know the position and the momentum of an object at the same time. This is a property of quantum objects and does not depend on the ability to make an exact measurement. This uncertainty, at macroscopic scale, cannot be detected experimentally, and this has generated intense scientific debate in the frontiers of quantum physics and in the mesoscopic world. For the researchers, the tunnel effect is an unexpected consequence of quantum mechanics, and the magnets of mesoscopic size are the best systems for detecting quantum tunnelling phenomena.

The collection Milestones in Spin highlights 23 historic events in the study of spin, from the discovery of the first physical phenomenon in this field (the Zeeman effect, 1896) until the present day. Milestone 22, entitled «Mesoscopic tunneling of magnetization» is the quantum tunnel effect in magnetic poles, a phenomenon discovered by Javier Tejada, J. R. Friedman, M. Sarachik and Ron Ziolo and described in the article «Macroscopic measurement of resonant magnetization tunneling in high-spin molecules» (Physical Review Letters, 1996).

In this study, the scientists showed that the reorientation of the magnetic poles of mesoscopic sized magnets occurs due to quantum tunnelling, a curious property of the quantum world according to which an elementary particle can disappear and reappear outside the space in which it is confined.

In accordance with the theories of the physicist Eugene Chudnovsky on the tunnel effect, Tejada and his co-workers study the magnetism of mesoscopic magnets, and have discovered new fundamental laws of quantum phenomena in magnetism: the first experimental evidence of the tunnel effect of magnetization (1992), the resonant spin tunnelling (1996), quantum spin coherence (1999) and quantum magnetic deflagration (2005). Science, Nature, and Physics Today are some of the international journals that reported the new physical effect, discovered in 1996 by the research team at the UB and in the United States.

In the area of spin physics, the article «Field tuning of thermally activated magnetic quantum tunnelling in Mn12-Ac molecules», was the second to report evidence of the tunnel effect using an independent technique, published in the journal Europhysics Letters (1996), by the researchers Javier Tejada, Joan Manel Hernàndez and X. X. Zhang of the Department of Fundamental Physics at the UB, in conjunction with F. Luis and J. Bartolomé of the Materials Science Institute of Aragon and Ron Ziolo of the Xerox Corporation in New York.

The expectations raised by resonant spin tunnelling in the field of applied and basic physics open up new frontiers for the study of new macroscopic quantum phenomena and the testing of theories.

Winner of the Principe de Viana Prize for Culture in 2006, and recipient of an honorary doctorate from the City University of New York in 1996, Javier Tejada is a renowned expert in the field of magnetism and in the study of quantum effects in magnetism and superconductivity using microwaves and acoustic waves as high frequency. Professor of the Department of Fundamental Physics, he is the director of the UBX and the Magnetism Group at the UB, and is a member of the Spanish Royal Society of Physics, the Catalan Society of Physics, the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society.

Javier Tejada is the author of more than 280 scientific studies in leading journals such as Science, Physical Review Letters, Physical Review B, Europhysics Letters, Applied Physics Letters and Nature Materials. Tejada, who holds fifteen international patents in cooperation with firms and institutions, has been admitted as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2000), and has received the Narcis Monturiol Medal from the Catalan government (1994), the International Award of the Xerox Foundation (1998) and the Catalan government distinction for the Promotion of University Research (2001).

Rosa Martínez | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ub.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm
16.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Supermassive black hole model predicts characteristic light signals at cusp of collision
15.02.2018 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>