Unattractive magnet

Published: Thursday 15 November 2001

A magnet that does not attract metallic objects has been produced at KEK in Japan. Ordinary magnets that are used to pick up metallic objects, can be used to tell the northerly direction and more importantly, can be used for storing information. The magnet, an alloy created from a rare earth element, samarium, at a temperature of 70 Kelvin has perfectly aligned atomic spins, like a permanent magnet but has no magnetism since the magnetic effects cancel precisely. Researchers believe that the new material will have important applications in many electronic devices.

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