A new type of magnet has been invented which can be used to create tiny metal studs.
The researchers at the University of Edinburgh say the device is the “world’s smallest magnet”.
They describe the technology as a “terrifyingly small” magnetic field and “extremely unlikely to occur naturally”.
Dr Ian Watson, from the School of Engineering and the School’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said the new field of magnetic engineering could offer an “existential” way of creating magnets.
“The main idea is to create a large amount of small magnetic fields that we can then put in small objects such as metal stud, for example, which are usually very large,” he said.
“It’s a very exciting time in magnetic field research.”
I don’t think there’s a better time to be working on this than now.
“You have a field that is so small that you can’t get a tiny magnetic field, which is really a challenge in creating a small magnetic field.”
So the challenge now is to find a way to make that small magnetic moment, which then we can use to create larger magnetic fields.
“The device is called a “ferrous metal stud” and is described in the journal Science Advances.”
We are looking at a type of magnetic material that has an attractive property, that we’ve known about for many years,” said Professor Watson.”
That is, if you put something in a small magnet, it will attract the object and create a field in the object, but you can have very small magnets.
“Professor Watson said it was possible to create magnetic fields with just a few molecules, but this was difficult.”
A lot of the materials in the world are extremely fragile,” he explained.”
They don’t have a very strong magnetic field so they’re very hard to make.
“What we are trying to do is make these materials so that you don’t need any molecules at all, but they are still extremely fragile and very difficult to make.”
The team from the University says the process of making the magnet is simple, and that they are currently working on improving the material so it could be used for future applications.
“This is the first time we’ve ever made a metal magnet,” Professor Watson said.
He said the material could be made with a single atom of iron, which could then be mixed with a catalyst.
“These metals are all very small and the material has a very high magnetic field,” he added.
“If you have an iron atom in it you will get a magnetic field which is much smaller than a single electron.”
But if you add a catalyst it will convert the iron into an iron oxide which will give you a magnetic force that’s around a thousand times stronger.
“Dr Watson said the researchers were now working on how to improve the material.”
Now we’re working on the catalyst, we’ve got a lot of ideas about how to make it stronger, but we are very excited about the idea of making this material in this way,” he concluded.”
There are lots of applications for this material.
“The discovery of the new material was made by researchers at The University of Nottingham and the University College London, who also found that a simple copper nanomaterial could be combined with a magnetic catalyst to create an attractive magnetic field with a diameter of about 0.2 micrometres.