Home > Discovery, Physics, Research, Science > Magnetricity – the New Electricity

Magnetricity – the New Electricity

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

“Electricity has a new little sister: magnetricity.

A team of physicists in England has created magnetic charges — isolated north and south magnetic poles — and induced them to flow in crystals no bigger than a centimeter across.

These moving magnetic charges, which behave almost exactly like electrical charges flowing through batteries and biological systems, could one day be useful in developing “magnetronic” devices — though what such devices would do is anybody’s guess.

In magnets, poles always come in pairs. No matter how many times you cut a magnet in half, down to the atoms themselves, each piece will always have a north and a south — a dipole.

But the magnetic molecules that make up a crystalline material called spin ice are arranged in triangular pyramids that prevent them from lining up comfortably with all of their poles pointing in the same direction. In an awkward compromise, each pyramid tends to have two magnets pointing inward and two pointing outward.”

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