Researchers Discover New Magnetic Element

University of Minnesota

May, 2018
Researchers Discover New Magnetic Element

At the University of Minnesota, a team of researchers has come together to demonstrate that the chemical element ruthenium (Ru) is the fourth single element that possesses unique magnetic properties at room temperature.

Magnetic materials are vital in modern technology, and the discovery of an additional magnetic element can be used to improve sensors as well as devices throughout the memory and logic industry.  By using ultra-thin films of the materials—structures impossible in nature—the researchers were able to prove the viability of the element, thanks to modern advances.

This schematic illustrates how a tetragonal phase of Ru has been forced using ultra thin film growth methods.
Credit: University of Minnesota, Quarterman et al, Nature Communications

Ruthenium joins iron, cobalt, and nickel as the currently-used materials with room temperature magnetic properties.

“Magnetism is always amazing. It proves itself again. We are excited and grateful to be the first group to experimentally demonstrate and add the fourth ferromagnetic element at room temperature to the periodic table,” said Jian-Ping Wang, Robert F. Hartmann professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“This is an exciting but hard problem. It took us about two years to find a right way to grow this material and validate it. This work will trigger the magnetic research community to look into fundamental aspects of magnetism for many well-known elements.”

To learn more about this project, click here.

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