Graphene can be made magnetic, scientists find

9 January 2012
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
Mobile version
Share |
Researchers use electron-beam lithography to microfabricate graphene devices

Researchers use electron-beam lithography to microfabricate graphene devices

Scientists have shown that graphene can be made magnetic which could have important applications in electronics.

In a report published in Nature Physics, University of Manchester researchers demonstrated that graphene, the world’s thinnest and strongest material, can be given magnetic properties.

The researchers, led by Dr Irina Grigorieva and Professor Sir Andre Geim, took nonmagnetic graphene and then either ‘peppered’ it with other nonmagnetic atoms like fluorine or removed some carbon atoms from the chicken wire.

The empty spaces, called vacancies, and added atoms all turned out to be magnetic, exactly like atoms of, for example, iron.

“It is like minus multiplied by minus gives you plus,” said Dr Irina Grigorieva, adding that the research could prove important for potential applications of graphene in electronics.

Graphene is a sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a chicken wire structure.

In its pristine state, it exhibits no signs of the conventional magnetism usually associated with such materials as iron or nickel.

Demonstrating its remarkable properties won Manchester researchers the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010.

The researchers found that, to behave as magnetic atoms, defects must be far away from each other and their concentration should be low.

If many defects are added to graphene, they reside too close and cancel each other’s magnetism.

In the case of vacancies, their high concentration makes graphene disintegrate.

“The observed magnetism is tiny, and even the most magnetized graphene samples would not stick to your fridge,” said Professor Geim, one of the Nobel prize recipients, adding that the area of magnetism in nonmagnetic materials has previously had many false positives.

“The most likely use of the found phenomenon is in spintronics. Spintronics devices are pervasive, most notably they can be found in computers’ hard disks.

“They function due to coupling of magnetism and electric current.”

Further information:

See E&T's interview with Andre Geim

See E&T's interview with Konstantin Novoselov

See E&T's feature on graphene devices speeding comms

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Sales Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Precision Microdrives
    • London (Greater)
    • £25,000 - £30,000 starting salary, inclusive of on-target commissions.

    Precision Microdrives (PMD) is a fast growing technology company that designs, produces and trades miniature electro-mechanical mechanisms

    • Recruiter: Precision Microdrives

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Development Engineer, Electronics

    Premium job

    Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation
    • Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire
    • Competitive

    We are innovative, robust and fast growing business, whose main focus is to deliver continues improvement to existing products and offer new soluti...

    • Recruiter: Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation

    Apply for this job

  • Analogue Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)
    • Uppsala (Stad) (SE)

    The Swedish Institute of Space Institute (IRF) in Uppsala search for an analogue electronics engineer.

    • Recruiter: Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)

    Apply for this job

  • Principal Robotic Systems Engineer

    Premium job

    National Oceanographic Centre
    • Southampton, Hampshire
    • £45,271 to £49,207 per annum

    Responsible for technical oversight and project management of internally and externally funded innovation centre projects.

    • Recruiter: National Oceanographic Centre

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer - Water

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

    Mott MacDonald's highly successful Water and Environment Unit is recruiting an electrical engineer....

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Design Engineer

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

    Mott MacDonald's highly successful water business continues to win and deliver a fantastic amount of work....

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Launcher Verication & Validation Lead

    MBDA
    • Bristol
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What’s the opportunity? Opportunity to join a very dynamic, responsive and multinational Launcher team, focussed on rapid development, proving and manufacture to meet challenging programme...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Technical Design Authority - Marine Systems (Mechanical)

    BAE Systems
    • Scotland, Glasgow
    • Negotiable

    Technical Design Authority - Marine Systems (Mechanical) Would you like to play an exciting and varied role working with the River Class Batch 2 (RCB2) vessels for the Royal Navy? We currently have a vacancy for a Technical Design Authority - Marine Syste

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T