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Concept: Magnet


Several mammalian species spontaneously align their body axis with respect to the Earth’s magnetic field (MF) lines in diverse behavioral contexts. Magnetic alignment is a suitable paradigm to scan for the occurrence of magnetosensitivity across animal taxa with the heuristic potential to contribute to the understanding of the mechanism of magnetoreception and identify further functions of magnetosensation apart from navigation. With this in mind we searched for signs of magnetic alignment in dogs. We measured the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs of 37 breeds during defecation (1,893 observations) and urination (5,582 observations) over a two-year period. After complete sampling, we sorted the data according to the geomagnetic conditions prevailing during the respective sampling periods. Relative declination and intensity changes of the MF during the respective dog walks were calculated from daily magnetograms. Directional preferences of dogs under different MF conditions were analyzed and tested by means of circular statistics.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Earth's magnetic field, Magnet, Earth, Dynamo theory, Magnetism, Solar wind, Magnetosphere


Ferromagnetic nanostructures have been electrodeposited within the pores of porous silicon templates with average pore diameters between 25 and 60 nm. In this diameter regime, the pore formation in general is accompanied by dendritic growth resulting in rough pore walls, which involves metal deposits also offering a branched structure. These side branches influence the magnetic properties of the composite system not only due to modified and peculiar stray fields but also because of a reduced interpore spacing by the approaching of adjacent side pores. To improve the morphology of the porous silicon structures, a magnetic field up to 8 T has been applied during the formation process. The magnetic field etching results in smaller pore diameters with less dendritic side pores. Deposition of a ferromagnetic metal within these templates leads to less branched nanostructures and, thus, to an enhancement of the coercivity of the system and also to a significantly increased magnetic anisotropy. So magnetic field-assisted etching is an appropriate tool to improve the structure of the template concerning the decrease of the dendritic pore growth and to advance the magnetic properties of the composite material.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Magnet, Paramagnetism, Magnetism, Ferromagnetism, Composite material, Hysteresis, Boeing 787


Conventional spin-singlet Cooper pairs convert into spin-triplet pairs in ferromagnetic Josephson junctions in which the superconductor/ferromagnet interfaces (S/F) are magnetically inhomogeneous. Although much of the theoretical work describing this triplet proximity effect has considered ideal junctions with magnetic domain walls (DW) at the interfaces, in practice it is not easily possible to isolate a DW and propagate a supercurrent through it. The rare-earth magnet Gd can form a field-tuneable in-plane Bloch DW if grown between non-co-linearly aligned ferromagnets. Here we report supercurrents through magnetic Ni-Gd-Ni nanopillars: by field annealing at room temperature, we are able to modify the low temperature DW-state in Gd and this result has a striking effect on the junction supercurrent at 4.2 K. We argue that this result can only be explained in terms of the interconversion of triplet and singlet pairs, the efficiency of which depends on the magnetic helicity of the structure.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Fundamental physics concepts, Magnet, Paramagnetism, Magnetism, Ferromagnetism, Antiferromagnetism, Domain wall


The flow of magnetic charge carriers (dubbed magnetic monopoles) through frustrated spin ice lattices, governed simply by Coulombic forces, represents a new direction in electromagnetism. Artificial spin ice nanoarrays realise this effect at room temperature, where the magnetic charge is carried by domain walls. Control of domain wall path is one important element of utilizing this new medium. By imaging the transit of domain walls across different connected 2D honeycomb structures we contribute an important aspect which will enable that control to be realized. Although apparently equivalent paths are presented to a domain wall as it approaches a Y-shaped vertex from a bar parallel to the field, we observe a stark non-random path distribution, which we attribute to the chirality of the magnetic charges. These observations are supported by detailed statistical modelling and micromagnetic simulations. The identification of chiral control to magnetic charge path selectivity invites analogy with spintronics.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Magnetic field, Magnet, Magnetism, Magnetic monopole, Topological defect


Materials based on metallic elements that have d orbitals and exhibit room temperature magnetism have been known for centuries and applied in a huge range of technologies. Development of room temperature carbon magnets containing exclusively sp orbitals is viewed as great challenge in chemistry, physics, spintronics and materials science. Here we describe a series of room temperature organic magnets prepared by a simple and controllable route based on the substitution of fluorine atoms in fluorographene with hydroxyl groups. Depending on the chemical composition (an F/OH ratio) and sp(3) coverage, these new graphene derivatives show room temperature antiferromagnetic ordering, which has never been observed for any sp-based materials. Such 2D magnets undergo a transition to a ferromagnetic state at low temperatures, showing an extraordinarily high magnetic moment. The developed theoretical model addresses the origin of the room temperature magnetism in terms of sp(2)-conjugated diradical motifs embedded in an sp(3) matrix and superexchange interactions via -OH functionalization.

Concepts: Oxygen, Magnetic field, Magnet, Chemistry, Magnetism, Ferromagnetism, Chemical element, Carbon


The demand for ever-increasing density of information storage and speed of manipulation boosts an intense search for new magnetic materials and novel ways of controlling the magnetic bit. Here, we report the synthesis of a ferromagnetic photovoltaic CH3NH3(Mn:Pb)I3 material in which the photo-excited electrons rapidly melt the local magnetic order through the Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida interactions without heating up the spin system. Our finding offers an alternative, very simple and efficient way of optical spin control, and opens an avenue for applications in low-power, light controlling magnetic devices.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Spin, Magnet, Paramagnetism, Magnetism, Ferromagnetism


Additive manufacturing allows for the production of complex parts with minimum material waste, offering an effective technique for fabricating permanent magnets which frequently involve critical rare earth elements. In this report, we demonstrate a novel method - Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) - to fabricate isotropic near-net-shape NdFeB bonded magnets with magnetic and mechanical properties comparable or better than those of traditional injection molded magnets. The starting polymer magnet composite pellets consist of 65 vol% isotropic NdFeB powder and 35 vol% polyamide (Nylon-12). The density of the final BAAM magnet product reached 4.8 g/cm(3), and the room temperature magnetic properties are: intrinsic coercivity Hci = 688.4 kA/m, remanence Br = 0.51 T, and energy product (BH)max = 43.49 kJ/m(3) (5.47 MGOe). In addition, tensile tests performed on four dog-bone shaped specimens yielded an average ultimate tensile strength of 6.60 MPa and an average failure strain of 4.18%. Scanning electron microscopy images of the fracture surfaces indicate that the failure is primarily related to the debonding of the magnetic particles from the polymer binder. The present method significantly simplifies manufacturing of near-net-shape bonded magnets, enables efficient use of rare earth elements thus contributing towards enriching the supply of critical materials.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic field, Magnet, Magnetism, Magnetic moment, Nylon, Tensile strength, Lodestone


Magnetic random access memory schemes employing magnetoelectric coupling to write binary information promise outstanding energy efficiency. We propose and demonstrate a purely antiferromagnetic magnetoelectric random access memory (AF-MERAM) that offers a remarkable 50-fold reduction of the writing threshold compared with ferromagnet-based counterparts, is robust against magnetic disturbances and exhibits no ferromagnetic hysteresis losses. Using the magnetoelectric antiferromagnet Cr2O3, we demonstrate reliable isothermal switching via gate voltage pulses and all-electric readout at room temperature. As no ferromagnetic component is present in the system, the writing magnetic field does not need to be pulsed for readout, allowing permanent magnets to be used. Based on our prototypes, we construct a comprehensive model of the magnetoelectric selection mechanisms in thin films of magnetoelectric antiferromagnets, revealing misfit induced ferrimagnetism as an important factor. Beyond memory applications, the AF-MERAM concept introduces a general all-electric interface for antiferromagnets and should find wide applicability in antiferromagnetic spintronics.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Magnet, Paramagnetism, Magnetism, Ferromagnetism, Permeability, Hysteresis, Antiferromagnetism


Earth’s magnetic field, one of the most enigmatic physical phenomena of the planet, is constantly changing on various time scales, from decades to millennia and longer. The reconstruction of geomagnetic field behavior in periods predating direct observations with modern instrumentation is based on geological and archaeological materials and has the twin challenges of (i) the accuracy of ancient paleomagnetic estimates and (ii) the dating of the archaeological material. Here we address the latter by using a set of storage jar handles (fired clay) stamped by royal seals as part of the ancient administrative system in Judah (Jerusalem and its vicinity). The typology of the stamp impressions, which corresponds to changes in the political entities ruling this area, provides excellent age constraints for the firing event of these artifacts. Together with rigorous paleomagnetic experimental procedures, this study yielded an unparalleled record of the geomagnetic field intensity during the eighth to second centuries BCE. The new record constitutes a substantial advance in our knowledge of past geomagnetic field variations in the southern Levant. Although it demonstrates a relatively stable and gradually declining field during the sixth to second centuries BCE, the new record provides further support for a short interval of extreme high values during the late eighth century BCE. The rate of change during this “geomagnetic spike” [defined as virtual axial dipole moment > 160 ZAm(2) (10(21) Am(2))] is further constrained by the new data, which indicate an extremely rapid weakening of the field (losing ∼27% of its strength over ca. 30 y).

Concepts: Magnetic field, Earth's magnetic field, Magnet, Earth, Dynamo theory, Magnetometer, Orders of magnitude, Geophysics


Oxygen-depleted hypoxic regions in the tumour are generally resistant to therapies. Although nanocarriers have been used to deliver drugs, the targeting ratios have been very low. Here, we show that the magneto-aerotactic migration behaviour of magnetotactic bacteria, Magnetococcus marinus strain MC-1 (ref. 4), can be used to transport drug-loaded nanoliposomes into hypoxic regions of the tumour. In their natural environment, MC-1 cells, each containing a chain of magnetic iron-oxide nanocrystals, tend to swim along local magnetic field lines and towards low oxygen concentrations based on a two-state aerotactic sensing system. We show that when MC-1 cells bearing covalently bound drug-containing nanoliposomes were injected near the tumour in severe combined immunodeficient beige mice and magnetically guided, up to 55% of MC-1 cells penetrated into hypoxic regions of HCT116 colorectal xenografts. Approximately 70 drug-loaded nanoliposomes were attached to each MC-1 cell. Our results suggest that harnessing swarms of microorganisms exhibiting magneto-aerotactic behaviour can significantly improve the therapeutic index of various nanocarriers in tumour hypoxic regions.

Concepts: Electron, Archaea, Bacteria, Magnetic field, Magnet, Magnetism, Magnetite, Field line