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Technology and Health News > Tuesday, February-10-2009

Two shots for the nano-magnets

A new instrument to simultaneously measure the magnetic field and the atomic structure of matter at the nanoscale has been developed. The applications of this are future generations of high-density memories

Snapshots of the weakest and microscopic magnetic fields generated by just a few molecules of a nanometer (billionth of a meter). The researchers have obtained the S3 Center of the National Institute for the Physics of Matter (INFM-CNR) of Modena and the University of Modena .

This is a scanning microscope combined with a new highly sensitive magnetic sensor. The microscope scans close with his point - made up of a few atoms - the area of the test and how it relates to the roughness with a resolution of several nanometers. Beside the point, the sensor records the magnetic field intensity, but with high detail ( millionth of a meter).

In this way the researchers were able to get together for the first time, images of atomic structure and magnetic properties of a thin layer of nano-magnet on a support of silicon.

"The microscope allows us to measure directly the properties of nano-molecular magnets on the surface, even at temperatures close to absolute zero, to minus 270 degrees," says Marco. "Above all," says the researcher, "it helps us to understand the magnetism on the molecular scale."

Important implications are ahead in the field of computing: control the magnetization on a molecular scale or realize a memory density much higher than at present, that is smaller and more capacious. The molecular nano-magnets could be the bit in the computers of the future.

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