Predicting the magnetic behavior of metallic compounds is a surprisingly difficult problem for theoretical physicists. While the properties of a common refrigerator magnet are not a great mystery, certain materials exhibit magnetic properties that do not fit within existing theories of magnetism. One such material inspired a recent theoretical breakthrough by physicists at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
In a paper scheduled for publication in the August 26 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters, Sriram Shastry, a professor of physics at UCSC, and graduate student Jan Haerter describe "kinetic antiferromagnetism," a new mechanism for metallic magnetism in materials with a particular type of atomic lattice structure. The paper solves a problem that has stumped theoretical physicists for decades.
"New materials tend to drive theoretical advances," Shastry said. "Metallic magnetism is a real frontier field in theoretical physics, and it has practical applications in materials science."
Tim Stephens | EurekAlert!
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