Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Carbon Magnets At Room Temperature 213

Posted by chrisd
from the spin-me-right-round-baby dept.
Bolie writes: "Trying to make high temperature super conductors yielded an unexpected result. The pure carbon bucky ball material was put under pressure to make sheets. That worked. Picture microscopic bubble pack. But the result was a sheet that was magnetic at room temperature. It has not escaped the attention of the discoverer, Tatiana Makarova, that this might be useful for a non-metallic computer memory. The material is also lighter than metals, flexible and transparent. Lasers anyone?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Carbon Magnets At Room Temperature

Comments Filter:
  • by House of Usher (447177) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:27AM (#2445653) Homepage
    First off, I find it hilarious what we physicists end up naming different molecules and ensemble configurations.

    Once again it goes to show that even though we're trying to do the right thing in the lab, sometimes bad things happen, but typically we're able to come out with something in the experiment that is actually worthwhile. Crazy how that works eh?

    Nonetheless, there is some pretty cool research at the University of Virginia in bucky ball related research. If anyone is interested, check out http://www.phys.virginia.edu

    • These molecules were named right (fullerenes) doubly: first for their resemblance to Bucky's famous dome structures, and second for their persistent versatility -- who expected non-metallic magnetism? or superconductivity?

      FAQ [netaxs.com] Buckminster Fuller Institute [bfi.org]

      Long live Bucky's spirit!

    • by mindstrm (20013)
      What do you find hilarious? How do you feel they should be named? Who should name them, if not the discoverer?
      Buckyballs is a nickname; the compound is 'buckminsterfullerene'.. a fitting name, given the molecule's resemblence to Buckminster Fuller's domes.

      And why do you think bad things happen? Even though we're 'trying' to do the right thing? What they are TRYING to do is experiment - test their hypothesis. It's okay to be wrong.. that's the whole point of the scientific method. Real scientists never, ever expect to be right all the time; you experiment so you can further your research, whether it's to cut-off a certain avenue of thinking with certainty, or try to open up a new one.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:32AM (#2445659) Journal
    Why is any new discovery automatically thrown into the PC composnents arena, even when there is no actual connection?

    It's a magnet, think SUPER-MOTOR.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Why is any new discovery automatically thrown into the PC composnents arena, even when there is no actual connection?

      Because his is Slashdot. There's no one here except computer geeks. If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

      • There's no one here except computer geeks. If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

        More tpo the point, if you have a big, hot noisy hammer which eats electricity as if it's going out of style and takes up most of your desk, everything looks like a way to make a smaller, cheaper, cooler, quieter hammer.

    • We see the world through the filter of our own experience. When something like this is posted on Slashdot, where a lot of people eat/sleep/breathe computers, the first idea is naturally going to be, "How can this make my computer better?".

      By your super-motor idea, I imagine that you deal with motors quite a bit (perhaps as an engineer?). It's just a matter of perspective.

      • I can't think of the last time I worked with a motor (apart from CPU fans and Hard Drives). I do understand your point, but there has to be at least a level of reason behind any ideas. I don't think people at Colgate run SETI@home hoping they will help find aliens that will come to earth and help us improve our oral hygene products... do you?
  • by Psiren (6145) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:34AM (#2445664)
    Transparent as in transparent aluminium, ala Trek? Can I build my whale tank now? ;)
  • by motherhead (344331) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:37AM (#2445668)

    Also, Makarova's material is flexible and transparent, properties that could make it useful for storing data when a laser is used to record on it. It might also be possible to record data at unprecedented densities.

    Man, this is really going to piss off Hillary Rosen...


  • by tonywestonuk (261622) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:42AM (#2445679)
    What about a new 'cool' translusent colored Fridge magnet!
  • If I understand correctly it is possible to change the magnetic state of this material... Maybe this FINIALLY means our persistent RAM??
    I might be way off here
    • Dude, if you want persistent RAM just fetch some old core memory. There's nothing like soldering your own PDP-11-UNIBUS to CF converter for your IPAQ. No need to worry about battery life 'cause you'd have that diesel generator to lug around.
      • Actualy NASA uses/used a form of core memory involving plated wires, for non-volatile memory in spacecraft. Seems resonable that fullereens would be stronger than the ferrite materials used in standard core memory, making it easier to make smaller arrays of core.
  • minus signs (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bowb (209411)
    But to her surprise, she found instead that the new material was magnetic even above 200 C. Until now, the highest temperature at which a non-metallic material was magnetic was 255 C. This record was held by a different form of buckyballs.

    I can't make sense of that. 255C is higher than 200C. Did they mean -255C and -200C ?

    • Re:minus signs (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nealbutler (318016)
      Yes, but -255C is lower than 200C! Besides, I hardly think -200C would count as room temperature.....
      • Re:minus signs (Score:1, Informative)

        by TheMidget (512188)
        Or maybe, his browser doesn't show the minus sign. Due to a bug, some early versions of konqueror did that with certain fonts...
        • Re:minus signs (Score:2, Informative)

          by bowb (209411)
          yes, that's what is happening. IE5.5 isn't showing the minus sign on -255 even though it's there in the source. That's pretty scarey.
          • mystery solved (Score:3, Informative)

            by bowb (209411)
            They used a Soft Hyphen (­ or ­) character instead of a minus sign. Browsers are not supposed to display a Soft Hyphen unless the line is broken at that point.
            • I looked at the source and saw a single ASCII '-' character, using IE and Netscape. It should display and on Netscape it does display. On IE it does NOT.

              Nor is it fixed in IE 6.0.2600 that ships with XP.

              Nasty little bug!
          • Even stranger is that, although IE 5.5 doesn't render it, you can copy the text surrounding the "-255" and the soft hyphen will appear when pasted!

            GTRacer
            - "Fix that soft hyphen with this new virility drug! $19.95 for a 5-day supply!"

        • Its doing the same thing with this browser as well.. Under RedHat 7.1.95 that is..


          Strangeness..

    • I think the error is the word "higiest" not the numbers. Perhaps they ment "lowest".

      Just a semi-educated guess, I have little to no knowlege in this field.

    • Doesn't show up in Kmeleon [kmeleon.og] either.
  • by gibodean (224873)

    Is it just me, or do the following quotes from the article not make sense ?

    The new magnetic sheet "...is the first non-metallic magnet to work at room temperature."

    "...she found instead that the new material was magnetic even above 200 C. Until now, the highest temperature at which a non-metallic material was magnetic was 255 C."

    Which is it ?

    • OK, from what I gathered from the article:
      • A previously discovered material made of buckyballs was magnetic for temperatures up to -255C.
      • However, this new material, also made of buckyballs (I love that word! :), is magnetic for temperatures up to 200C.

      The only reason I majored in C.S. rather than chemistry was because C.S. labs smelled marginally better...:)

    • "Until now" as in "before this discovery".

      Maybe you should try using what little part of your brain is still active.
    • Curie Point (Score:4, Informative)

      by Self Bias Resistor (136938) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:05AM (#2445705)

      Actually, no. What the article was saying was that the material is the first non-metallic material that was magnetic at room temperature (meaning that other non-magnetic materials weren't, at least not at room temperature). The point about the material being magnetic even above 200C was about the material's Curie point (above which the material stops being magnetic) being much higher than any other material, the previous record being 255C which was held by a different form of buckyballs. So this material is interesting because it's the first non-metallic material to be magnetic at room temperature and has a higher Curie point than any other non-metallic material to date.

      Apparently, the material's magnetism could be linked to unpaired electrons, which can sustain a magnetic field when their spins are aligned (in this case there are unpaired electrons). One possibility is that they bond in triangular groups of three, which would provide for unpaired spins.

      Although, to be used as computer memory it would have to have uniform magnetism, not just in pockets. But either way it's a significant step forward.

      • Re:Curie Point (Score:4, Informative)

        by Phrogz (43803) <!@phrogz.net> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:00AM (#2446355) Homepage
        The point about the material being magnetic even above 200C [...] the previous record being 255C which was held by a different form of buckyballs...
        You do realize that the HTML for the article is broken, and that the previous record was -255C, right? Because simple math states that +255 is already greater than +200, right?
      • Right so.. just so I understand.. you are saying that 200 degrees is a higher temperature than 255 degrees.. correct?
    • by TheMidget (512188)
      The new magnetic sheet "...is the first non-metallic magnet to work at room temperature."

      "...she found instead that the new material was magnetic even above 200 C. Until now, the highest temperature at which a non-metallic material was magnetic was 255 C."

      Ok, let's take it word after word:
      • room temperature.: Aound 21C.
      • the new material was magnetic even above 200 C..The word "even" seems to imply that it is a feat to go above a certain temperature . Which implies that with higher temperature, materials tend to lose their magnetism (Curie point). Which implies that the material is also magnetic for all temperatures below 200 C. Which includes 21C, i.e. room temperature. Probably, the reason for the strange formulation was that the researcher didn't have any oven handy which went over 200 C, or that any higher temperature fried his magnetism measuring equipment, or whatever. So he was just saying that at 200 C it was keeping its magnetism, and that it was likely that it would keep it even beyond that mark.
      • Until now, the highest temperature at which a non-metallic material was magnetic was 255 C. The words "until now" means "all materials known before" this one was discovered. Meaning that the 255 C refers to a different material. Oh, and btw, 255 C (that's minus 255) is below room temperature.
      So where is the contradiction?
      • Thank you, you explained it much better than I did!
    • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @07:07AM (#2445849) Homepage Journal
      It's a mistake in the HTML, the 250 should be -250, but they put a soft hyphen in instead of a minus sign or a dash.
  • by Bugmaster (227959)
    The article says:
    But to her surprise, she found instead that the new material was magnetic even above 200 C. Until now, the highest temperature at which a non-metallic material was magnetic was 255 C.
    1. above 200 C < above 255 C. Do they mean, "below" ?
    2. 200 C is not exactly room-temperature. Water boils at 100 C, roughly
    Still, this is a pretty sweet discovery. I wonder how strong these magnets are - strong enough to build an ultra-light motor ?
    • But to her surprise, she found instead that the new material was magnetic even above 200 C
      This means that the new material is magnetic Even above 200 C. Does'nt mean , It is not magnetic at room temperature.

      Until now, the highest temperature at which a non-metallic material was magnetic was 255 C.
      This means that before this discovery, the highest temprature at which a non metal behaved magnetically was -255 C. So basically, it's a jump of 455 C (from -255 to +200 C). I hope you are more clear now.


      If only people use Metric system only , things would be much easier! Scientist should mention tempratures in Kelvins , not in C or F.
      • I cannot find the negative sign in the article, not even in the source...

        Still, (I'm no physisist) I interpreted this bit as "well, this bucky formation is magnetic (slightly) above 200 Celsius, which is high, but did not break the record, which is held by another formation which is magnetic at 255 Celsius"
    • you're browser is not displaying the minus sign,
      its formerly minus 255c, now positive 200c.
  • by morie (227571) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:12AM (#2445712) Homepage
    ... to wrap microscopic hardware parts. Finally we've found a solution to that one!
  • Carbon chemistry (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shawnseat (453587) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:43AM (#2445750)
    One of the reasons buckball chemistry is likely to continue to make surprises is that carbon is one of the few elements (tin being the only other I can recall at the moment) that exists both as a metal -- graphite, and as a nonconductor -- diamond, in stable allotropes at room temperature.


    The interesting thing about buckyballs is that their bonding is somewhat of a cross between the two: it is a polyaromatic (like graphite) but it is a molecular solid (similar to, but not exactly like, diamond).

    • (Ok I'll ask you since you seem to know about this stuff...) Ever heard the idea of caging atoms or molecules within buckyballs? I'm just wondering if much research is being done on that. It would be neat to see a whole new class of materials. That's what I would call human progress!
  • Buckyballs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AndrewHowe (60826) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:51AM (#2445756)
    Has anyone discovered a way to reliably make large quantities of Buckyballs? Last time I looked into it, it was very hard... They were very expensive and only available in small quantities for experimentation.
    • Re:Buckyballs (Score:3, Informative)

      by nealbutler (318016)
      Here's a few interesting links on the subject...
      • Here [insite.com.br] is a not-too-technical report on buckyballs, their properties, etc.
      • According to
      • this article [physicsweb.org], buckyballs hold the record for highest-temperature superconductor.
      • A report [ameslab.gov] (fairly technical) on research into building buckballs...
      • And
      • here's [lbl.gov] a report on single buckyball transistors.
      Enjoy! :)
      • According to this article [physicsweb.org], buckyballs hold the record for highest-temperature superconductor.

        Small correction. The article says that C-60 is non-copper-oxide superconductor with the highest transition temperature.There are high-Tc superconductors with transition temperatures way higher than that. Strange quaternary alloys (YBCO, or Yttrium-Barium-Copper-Oxide, is probably the most common) where the ratios of components must be just right are some of the highest transition temperature SC's. The highest transition temperatures, IIRC, occur around 150K or so. This is good news because liquid nitrogen temperature is 77K, which is cheaper than milk in bulk quantities. Thus, for some superconducting applications, you don't need expensive 4K liquid Helium refridgerators, but can make use of a dewar filled with cheap liquid nitrogen.

        Here is a link [gsu.edu] with various copper-oxide superconductors described.

  • by nyjx (523123) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @06:07AM (#2445777) Homepage
    More stuff on Buckminster Fullerine (an outstanding name for a molecule if ever there was one!) can be found here:

    Nice one Mr.Buckminster...

  • Not only will they give us a new form of storage, but they can also be used as a treatment for AIDS [wired.com].
    Interesting how versatile a simple molecule can be..
  • by kuhneng (241514)
    I can understand how a magnetic non-metal could be written to with a laser (briefly heating a spot above the curie point I assume), but it's not clear that you can read with the same mechanism. Could someone with a real grasp of the physics take a guess at the mechanisms they're hinting at? For that matter, what do we do with memory with exceptional write performance, but dismal read performance. I'm sure there are some scientific and data acquisition applications that could benefit.
    • By writing to a particular memory cell, light passing through that location may be polarized differently because of the different magnetic field. This could then be used to verify the particular state it is in. This could be a very fast way to read the memory.
    • You can read the thing with a magnetic head.

      I believe minidiscs work like this. Someone's bound to correct me if i'm wrong.

      To write, the laser heats a very small spot on the disc (to above the Curie point), and the magnetic head magnetises the spot in the required orientation. The use of the laser allows a much smaller spot on the disc to be targetted than with the magnetic head alone.

      Reading is done without the laser, just the magnetic head in a manner similar to a hard disc.

      Jeff

  • They don't need to make those iron-bearing structures anymore.

    -jcr
  • Storage? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr_Cheeks (110261) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @06:48AM (#2445828) Homepage Journal
    "....record data at unprecedented densities."

    Right, so yet another possible way to store lots of data. We hear about these all the time (holographic memory, molecular storage etc.), but when are we actually going to get some of this - at the moment everyone still seems to be working on Winchester drives and semiconductor memory.

    Is all this just pie in the sky, or are people actually producing devices that use these exotic storage methods? I figure this is about the best place to ask.

    • There aren't consumer level apps that max out existing memory yet, by orders of magnitude, anyhow. There are also still gains to be had from conventional storage. So it's the chicken-egg problem. Once existing technology is nearing it's limit, then someone will produce an alternative to keep up.. but it's nice to know there's lots of choices.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac. c o m> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @06:50AM (#2445829) Journal
    Hooray! One more thing you don't need metals for!

    So far, Carbon is good for hardness (diamond), tensile strength (aramid fiber, buckytubes), lubrication (graphite), electrical conductivity (buckytubes), and now it can even be used for magnetic memory, and presumably for transformer cores, and antennae.

    When NanoTech hits in a big way, I suspect that we'll have a major issue with depletion of atmospheric CO2.

    BTW, anyone know of a form of Carbon for that's good for optical fiber, or do we just continue to rely on Silicon for that?

    -jcr

    • You forgot the biggie - Carbon is good for life!
    • 'anyone know of a form of Carbon for that's good for optical fiber, or do we just continue to rely on Silicon for that? '

      they said its clear... a type of this form may be able to be used as optics depends on how clear it really is...
      • Well, the newest optical fibers have a hole down the middle, where the em transmits through a vacuum. Think wave-guide? I don't know just how transparent the walls need to be. Still, diamond is pretty transparent. So it might even be too transparent. Could by you'll need to end up doping your optical fibers to make the opaque enough to hold the light in the center around curves.

        • Actually, from what I understand, what "holds the light in around curves" in current fiber optic strands is the cladding, which is of a different refraction index, thus it bends (bounces) the light back toward the center, except in extremely tight bends. I would imagine the same thing would/could be done with this stuff. Also, sometimes having the light leak can be a good thing: Think VR glove bend sensors, and lightweight robotic whisker bump sensors (see Gordon McCombs latest edition of "99 Inexpensive Robotics Projects" for more on this one)...
    • aramid is a bit more than just Carbon.. need nitrogen and oxygen too. This [pleo.com] is a nice explanation on what kevlar (and other aramids) is..

      //rdj
      • >aramid is a bit more than just Carbon.. need nitrogen and oxygen too.

        OF course, but my point is that this is one more application that doesn't require metals. Nitrogen and Oxygen are pretty common (read: cheap), too.

        -jcr
    • Hooray! One more thing you don't need metals for!

      So far, Carbon is good for hardness (diamond), tensile strength (aramid fiber, buckytubes), lubrication (graphite), electrical conductivity (buckytubes), and now it can even be used for magnetic memory, and presumably for transformer cores, and antennae.

      When NanoTech hits in a big way, I suspect that we'll have a major issue with depletion of atmospheric CO2.

      BTW, anyone know of a form of Carbon for that's good for optical fiber, or do we just continue to rely on Silicon for that?


      You are a carbon-biased life form, AICM5P.
  • Slashdot Jul 12:
    Disk Storage Limits Loom 3-5 Years From Now [slashdot.org] states:
    New technology won't be ready for something like ten years.

    Does this carbontechnology smash the there mentioned barrier?
    Will appliance be in time to nullify the harddisk manufacturers predictions?
  • So you use this as a cover for a pair of glasses. The lenses are separated into a 2D array. Then, you use a laser to that shines into the eye, using the reflection off the pupil and the 2d array, you find where you're "looking". Now, you take a wire and stick it in your brain that sends a "signal" of what you're "looking" at...or something.
  • Becided the use in computer technology could these be used to create more efficient generators, and lighter electrical motors that need less electrical energy to produce. Yea computers are great and all but just the Light Magnetic quality can help out a lot too.
    • Good idea, but I doubt it.

      For large scale power generation, the generators do not use permanent magnets, but rather use electromagnets. These electromagnets are energized by a small current, then the generator spun up, and the electromagnets keep generating a magnetic field, either by being fed directly off the generator (like a car alternator works), or by simple induction (look here [qsl.net] for how to do this yourself from common electric motors!!!). Permanent magnets tend to only be used on small generators like that used for bicycle lights, or for the spark generation on small engines (where I suppose it could make a difference).

      As for motors, most AC motors, once again, are either induction based, or three phase with two sets of electromagnets - no permanent magnets used. Where it could get interesting though, for electric vehicles - where I think your idea might have merit. A lighter, but more powerful motor using these magnets (if they prove to be more powerful than other magnets, of course) would mean longer battery life. Still, I think some electric vehicles actually use AC motors as well, and do a DC->AC conversion. AC motors are used, I think, because even after the conversion from DC to AC, they are more powerful for a smaller package, and more efficient (of course, I could be wrong - someone enlighten me, please).

      Also, smaller, lighter motors could mean smaller conventional DC motors, like smaller pager motors, smaller printer stepper motors, all the small motors that exist (smaller, lighter, more powerful kick-ass battlebot motors - yeah!!!)...
  • so that means... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AssFace (118098)
    since ram is already getting so damn cheap (I recall back not too long ago - '95'ish - when it was $3-8 a meg) - now with these technologies to make it lighter, faster, better, cheaper - how much less will/can it cost?
    my guess is that I will start getting paid to use the ram.
    • Hrmph. Think back just a little more to the very early 90s. When 386s were new, and Simms still cost AUD$100/USD$76 per megabyte. And even before, on the 286's, although RAM was less likely to be measured in MB sticks on desktop computers.

      Anyways.

      Yes, it can get significantly cheaper. No, not very quickly.

      Especially if it is significantly faster. Expect to see those wonderful "Server Component" prices for a while whilst the research money is made back, and *eventually* the public will get a reasonable crack at it.
  • by Phrogz (43803) <!@phrogz.net> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:03AM (#2446373) Homepage
    The article says:
    Tatiana Makarova...discovered the material while experimenting with buckyballs, football-shaped molecules made up of 60 carbon atoms.

    I figure most geeks on slashdot already know what a buckyball looks like; just in case, for the U.S. readers, this means soccerball-shaped...

    • (Ignoring the fact that most of the world calls the sport the Americans call soccer 'football'; I'll write with American usage:)

      Right, and wrong. Buckballs are C-60 and soccerball shaped, but some relatives are indeed football shaped (more like a rugby ball, really), and have 70 or 76 Carbon atoms inside.

      "C60 and C70 have similar properties, with six reversible, one electron reductions to C60(6-) and C70(6-) having been observed, whereas oxidation is irreversible. The first reduction for both fullerenes is ~1.0 V (Fc/Fc+), indicating they have electron accepting properties. C76 exhibits both electron donor/acceptor properties. C60 has a tendency of avoiding having double bonds within the pentagonal rings which makes electron delocalisation poor, and results in the fact that C60 is not "superaromatic". C60 behaves very much like an electron deficient alkene and readily reacts with electron rich species. " (from
      http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Chemistry/MOTM/bucky ba ll/c60a.htm )

    • Actually, that shape is technically called a truncated icosahedron, IIRC. That way it doesn't matter what sport you play: everyone is equally confused... ;-)
  • by XPulga (1242) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:14AM (#2446431) Homepage
    ...Trying to make high temperature super conductors yielded an unexpected result...

    It is absolutely amazing to see something like this happening. Upon entry on a research program most science programs I knew required the applicant to fill-in a form stating:

    • what the project will be
    • budget requirements
    • chronogram
    • publishing chronogram
    • what the results will be
    Now I wonder how many years of tenure one needs to be allowed to have unexpected results... *grin*
  • I wonder if they could eventually assemble carbon atoms in such a way as to trade-off the flexibility of this "buckywall" structure for the durability of diamond.
  • Flat panel displays? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by babymac (312364)
    Forget lasers, my question is...

    Could this technology be used to develop inexpensive flat panel displays? It sounds like it could possibly be ideal. Transparent, flexible, magnetic. I know that there was some talk recently about the possibility of using carbon nanotubes in a display device. Now if they could just get past the mass production barrier, things could be looking very good.

    From what I understand, mass production shouldn't be too much of a problem either. First of all, I always thought that carbon nanotubes were a lot harder to produce than buckyballs. Second of all, Dr. Smalley has been claiming loudly that his company will be able to mass produce nanotubes in the very near future.

    What do you think? Anyone have any info. on this?

  • ITS -255c (Score:5, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@yBLUEahoo.com minus berry> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @01:02PM (#2447340) Homepage Journal
    There is a bug in some browsers that fail to display the - sign. The articl may appear to say the previous temp was 255c when it actually says(look in the source) -255c.
    I don't know how to post a story update, so I'll do this here.
    • So natural I show a Minus sign in a post about browsers not being able to show the minus sign, sheesh.
      thats minus 255c
  • I wonder if this stuff could be used to make "flat ribbon"-style speakers better & cheaper?

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

Working...