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Monday Oct 03, 2022

The Edge: A New Magnetic Phenomenon With Industrial Potential

The realm of the very, extremely small is an exciting world for physicists. The nanoscale is where new and surprising phenomena can be discovered. Materials as thin as 100atoms can be explored. Nature ceases to behave according to the macrocosmic law of physics. This is unlike the rest of the cosmos or the world around it.

The team of researchers was led by Dr. Yonathan Anahory from Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Racah Institute of Physics. Avia Noah, a doctoral student at HU, was also part of the group. As he described the images showing edge magnetism, he spoke of his amazement at the magnetism generated from nano-magnets.

Images showed that the magnetic material being studied by HU researchers only retained magnetism at its edges. In fact, it was only 10 nanometers from the edge. (Remember, a human hair is approximately 100,000 nanometers). The results were published in the prestigious journal Nano Letters.

Although the nano-effect is very small, it could have many applications in daily life. Anahory explained that small magnets of different shapes are being sought in today’s technological race to make each component smaller and more efficient. Edge magnetism allows for the creation of long wire magnets as thin as 10 nanometers. These magnets can curve into any shape. Anahory stated that “it could revolutionize how we make spintronics device,” referring to next-generation nano-electronics devices with lower power consumption, increased memory and processing capability.

It was a serendipitous discovery that edge magnetism actually existed: Anahory took a look at a magnetic nano-material (CGT), created by his Spanish colleague at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. Images taken using a new type magnetic microscopy, developed in Israel to measure the magnetic field of one electron were used for the discovery. High-tech new technologies are essential for discovering new phenomena. The phenomena themselves will also be the core of more advanced technologies, as edge magnetism has shown.

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