Novel Scientific Breakthrough Achieved: Scientists Create New Magnetic Materials Through Atom-By-Atom Assembly

First Posted: Apr 18, 2017 05:40 AM EDT

Magnetic materials have become an indispensable requirement in the process of development and operation of several tools and techniques viz. motors, computer hard drives and biomedical techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The demand for magnetic materials with specific physical properties has increased manifolds in the recent years.

The paucity of these materials for commercial aplications is attributed to the fact that only 5 percent of the total elements present on Earth have magnetic properties. Furthermore, the naturally occurring magnetic compounds contain trace elements, due to which the cost of these materials is extremely high.

According to most scientists, the only possible solution to this problem is the development of new magnetic materials that possess the desired physical and chemical properties without any trace elements. Recently, scientists from Duke University, Durham, U.S., and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, have managed to achieve it.

According to AZO Materials, the scientists made use of computational modeling to predict the magnetic properties of hypothetical combinations of elements. They used 55 different elements and proposed 236,115 prospective magnetic material prototypes. They then screened the properties and stability of these prototypes in the computational model and selected the 35,602 most stable combinations.

These selected combinations were screened again. This time 248 combinations that were the most energy efficient were selected. The next round of screening showed that only 22 of these selected combinations displayed magnetic moment. Out of these, only 14 had a distinctive atomic arrangement that can be pragmatized using material science.

Once the atomic recipe for the magnetic materials was finalized, the scientists concentrated on assembling the material. After years of research, they succeeded in developing only two of these proposed combinations, reported.

According to the study results published in the Science Advances journal, the first material (Co2MnTi) was made up of cobalt, manganese and titanium, while the second one (Mn2PtPd) contained manganese, platinum and palladium. Further analysis of the physical properties of these two elements revealed that Co2MnTi is highly suitable for commercial applications, while the application of Mn2PtPd is limited to the development of computer random access memory (RAM) and hard drives.

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