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Carbon Magnets At Room Temperature 213

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?"
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Carbon Magnets At Room Temperature

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  • 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

  • by Rademir ( 168324 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:24AM (#2445728) Homepage

    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 [] Buckminster Fuller Institute []

    Long live Bucky's spirit!

  • 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).

  • 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.
  • 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...

  • by kuhneng ( 241514 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @06:20AM (#2445792) Homepage
    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 jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> 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?

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @08:21AM (#2445975) Journal
    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.
  • by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @08:55AM (#2446091)
    adding insult to injury, wordpad doesn't show the soft hyphen either, which means it doesn't show up in the source.

    I was a bit confused, when I could see it in the browser, but not in the source. Notepad solved that little problem.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @09:26AM (#2446195)
    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.
  • so that means... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AssFace ( 118098 ) <> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @09:42AM (#2446260) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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*
  • Flat panel displays? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by babymac ( 312364 ) <ph33d@charte r . net> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @10:40AM (#2446588) Homepage
    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?

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl