A technique for controlling the magnetic properties of a commonly used blue dye could revolutionise computer processing power, according to research published recently in Advanced Materials.
Scientists have demonstrated that they can control the properties in a dye known as Metal Phthalocyanine, or MPc, with the use of magnetism.
Though this technology is still in its infancy, researchers claim that the ability to control the magnetic properties of MPc could have the potential to dramatically improve information processing in the future.
iPods, CD read/writers, and other electronic devices already use magnetism as a system for signalling to process and store information.
Current technology, however, has limitations. According to Moores Law - a theory for describing the historical trend of computer hardware development computer technology will eventually reach a dead end as options for shrinking the size and increasing memory run out.
Dr Sandrine Heutz, from Imperial College Londons Department of Materials, and scientists from the London Centre for Nanotechnology, believe results from recent experiments with MPc could provide the answer.
MPc contains carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen and can also contain a wide range of atoms at its centre. In their work they used either a copper or manganese metal atom at its centre. Scientists first observed MPc in 1907 and it has been used ever since as a dye in textiles and paper and has even been investigated for use as an anti-cancer agent.
Dr Heutz made a scientific breakthrough when she experimented with clusters of MPc. She found that she could make the metal centres of MPc have tiny magnetic interactions with one another. Like placing two compasses together and controlling which way the arrows point, she found that she could control how the metal centres of MPc spin in relation to one another.
The secret to controlling this spin lies in the way
|Contact: Colin Smith|
Imperial College London