Nano-structured magnetic materials are of fundamental importance for a wide range of devices and applications, including magnetic memory, logic and sensors. For spintronics applications, magnetic materials allow the utilization of the electron’s spin degree of freedom, in addition to its charge, in order to provide advanced functionality, resulting in non-volatile and fast memories, with drastically reduced power consumption compared to standard semiconductor-based devices. Furthermore, hybrid spintronics/magneto-electric devices allow for electrical control of magnetism, which is currently of great interest for fundamental studies as well as technological applications due to its huge versatility.
At UCLan we are investigating the rich properties of nano-structured magnetic and magneto-electric materials, using a range of advanced characterization techniques as well as advanced micromagnetics computations using our in-house developed software Boris. In addition, we collaborate closely with the Nano-biomaterials Research Group on projects involving the fabrication and characterisation of magnetic nanoparticles for potential applications in separation science, drug delivery, industrial catalysis and bio-sensors.
Magnetic Materials Research has a long tradition at UCLan. Originally focused on applied magnetism (data storage) and interactions between fine magnetic particles, members of the group have recently extended their interests into the areas of (i) Multiferroics and (ii) super-paramagnetic nano-particles. For (i), a collaboration with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory has led to a new PhD project that has just started to investigate the anisotropy of multiferroic composites and the effects of texture on the converse Magneto-Electrical effect. For (ii), nano-composites have been developed with a view to their use in bio-catalysis and drug delivery. In addition, the group takes part in work led by the surface patterning group on a joint project between Fudan University, Shanghai, China and Feedwater Ltd. UK on Multifunctional Nanocomposites for the Separation of Pollutants from Industrial and Municipal Sewage Water
Research in magnetic materials is currently focussed on two themes:
- Multiferroic composite materials with interest in their magnetic properties, the Magneto-Electric effect, electrical excitation and the interactions between these aspects. These multifunctional materials are of high interest because of their potential applications in the continuing miniaturisation of technology.
- Magnetic nanoparticles that have potential biomedical, decontamination and catalysis applications
The Magnetic Materials Research Laboratory provides facilities for the measurement and characterisation of various magnetic materials. In addition to conventional Vibrating Sample Magnetometry (VSM), the lab also has more specialist Vector VSM and Transverse Susceptibility instruments. Other expertise consists of Scanning Column Magnetometry for the study of ferro-fluids and other dispersions of magnetic particles and in noise measurements as a function of magnetic state; the later having been used as a probe for the interactions and structure within magnetic data storage media. Shortly, we are expecting to extend our capability by the addition of a Magnetic Hyperthermia rig for our biomedical nanoparticle research.
Magnetic materials group website: http://uclanmagnetics.wordpress.com
Principal investigators: Tim Mercer, Serban Lepadatu, Steve McCann
Header Image : Simulated Nanoparticle (Marco Pinna, Joe Smerdon), Solar disk with SDO (NASA UClan SDO archive), V838 Monocerotis (NASA/STScl), NGC7424 (Gemini Observatory), M74 (NASA Hubble Space Telescope) NASA,and ESA ; and solar plume courtesy of SOHO /EIT consortium
Author: SPS Eyres, Last Updated: 10 February 2006, 15:04