Recently, researchers from the Hahn-Meitner-Institute (HMI) in Berlin in cooperation with the University of Aplied Science in Berlin have succeeded, for the first time, in a direct, three-dimensional visualisation of magnetic fields inside solid, non-transparent materials. This is announced by Nikolay Kardjilov and colleagues in the current issue of the journal Nature Physics, the on-line contributions to which will be released in advance on the 30th of March at 18.00 London time.
Three-dimensional imaging of magnetic fields with polarized neutrons. Hahn–Meitner Institute
The researchers in the imaging group used neutrons, subatomic particles that have zero net charge, but do have a magnetic moment, making them ideal for investigating magnetic phenomena in magnetic materials. When in an external magnetic field, the neutrons behave like compass needles, all aligning to point on the direction of the field. Neutrons also have an internal angular momentum, often referred to by physicists as spin, a property that causes the needle to rotate around the magnetic field, similar to the way in which the Earth rotates on its axis. When all of the magnetic moments point in the same direction then the neutrons are said to be spin-polarised. If a magnetic sample is irradiated with such neutrons, the magnetic moments of the neutrons will begin to rotate around the magnetic fields they encounter in the sample and the direction of their spin changes.
Kardjilov's group used this phenomenon as a measurement parameter for tomography experiments using two spin polarisers (which only allow the passage of neutrons whose spin points in a specific direction) to polarise and then analyse the neutrons. By detecting changes in the spins, it is possible to “see” the magnetic fields within the sample.
Kardjilov explains this by comparison with a medical CT scan; when a specimen is irradiated with x rays the density of the materials present alters the intensity of the light. "It's the same with our magnetic specimen, which changes the spin rotation of the neutrons", says Nikolay Kardjilov. "The equipment only allows passage of neutrons with a specific spin rotation, and this generates the contrast according to how the magnetic properties are distributed within the specimen. By rotating the specimen we can reconstruct a three-dimensional image."
Since 2005, Nikolay Kardjilov has built up the neutron tomography section at HMI and now his group is the first to use spin rotation as a measurement signal for three-dimensional imaging. Normally, neutron imaging relies on the different levels of absorption of radiation by different materials to produce contrast. The measurement of magnetic signals is a novel concept and its success lies partly in the polarisers and analysers, and the detector system, which have been developed and built by the HMI researchers.
Magnetism is one of the central research fields at HMI. To understand high temperature superconductivity, for example, it is vital to understand how magnetic flux lines are distributed and how these flux lines can be established in the material. With Kardjilov's experimental setup, it is now possible, among other things, to visualise magnetic domains in magnetic crystals three-dimensionally.
At Hahn-Meitner-Institut in Berlin work about 800 employees, among them about 300 scientists. They research properties of materials, develop solar cells of new generation and practice a user facility at research reactor BER II open to the national and international community.To 1. Januar 2009 the HMI will merge with BESSY, the Berliner Elektronenspeicherring- Gesellschaft für Synchrotronstrahlung becoming together a new research center, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for materials and energy.
The Hahn-Meitner-Institut Berlin is member of the Helmholtz-Association, the biggest german research organisation. It involves 15 research institutes and 24.000 employees.contact: HMI
Dr. Nikolay Kardjilov | alfa
NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts
28.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Researchers create artificial materials atom-by-atom
28.03.2017 | Aalto University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy