MUNICH, Germany Researchers from Forschungszentrum Rossendorf discovered a polymer with the ability to show magnetic properties. While the effect is restricted to very low temperatures for the time being, it could be the basis for future magnetic polymers.
The scientists at the Dresden-based research center discovered that a 3-dimensional polymer synthesized by a research team from the Eastern Washington University (USA) exhibits antiferromagnetic properties if it is cooled to 1.54 Kelvin. In the polymer molecule, copper atoms form layers with organic pyrazine molecules that are bridged by atoms of hydrogen and fluoride.
At temperatures near absolute zero, the copper atoms embedded in the molecule arrange themselves in an antiferromagnetic pattern. This means that every copper atom interchanges its spin with its neighbors, this neutralizing the effect in a macro scale. "We will research ways how to affect this mechanism of self-arranging and we search for ways to control it, targeting at producing a magnetic effect in a macro scale", explained Joachim Wosnitza, manager of the High-intensity magnetic field lab at the Rossendorf institute.
If the researchers succeed in controlling this magnetic effect, they could have the key to designing polymer materials with custom-tailored magnetic properties, Wosnitza explained. However, the research is still in a very theoretical phase. According to Wosnitza, industrial application is still many years away.