Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New magnets with 99% air content


Researchers from the Physics Department at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), the Institut de Ciènca de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), and the Universidad de Zaragoza have created a new ultra-light transparent magnetic material. Thanks to its properties, the new material could have interesting technological applications, such as creating new types of flat screens and magneto-optical memory devices for computers.

The researchers have obtained the new ultra-light magnets by combining silica aerogel (aerogels are extremely light solid materials, and are so porous that they’re made up of 99% air) with extremely fine magnetic particles composed of neodymium, iron and boron (Nd2Fe14B). These were orientated through a magnetic field during the synthesis. The new material retains the transparent and light properties of the aerogel, as well as the magnetic properties of the chemical composition. The magnets obtained by the researchers in the laboratory have a cylindrical shape about 1cm in diameter and several centimetres in length.

Until now, all aerogels with magnetic properties created in other laboratories were too “soft”, from a magnetic point of view, for storing information, and this closed all windows of opportunity on many technological applications. A weak external magnetic field could easily erase any information stored.

The new material created by UAB researchers firmly retains the orientation of its magnetic field, just like with a traditional magnet, making it very attractive for using in permanent magnetic memories. Because this new material allows light to travel through, its properties could simplify the design of magneto-optical memory devices, which would eventually be read by a laser beam. Furthermore, the material can be transparent or opaque according to the direction in which it is observed, making it potentially useful for creating flat screens similar to LCDs. With 99% air content, aerogel is the lightest material made to date. It is so light that some have called it “frozen fog”. Due to its extremely porous composition, it has the lowest levels of thermal, electrical and sound conductivity, making it the material with the best isolation properties.

Aerogels are produced via an extremely complex process. Firstly, a chemical solution containing water – the “gel” – is dried in special conditions in order to eliminate the water molecules and substitute them for air, so that a hugely porous solid material is obtained.

Octavi López Coronado | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

nachricht Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>