Is small the new big for materials science?
Year
2013-2014
Share this Research

They can pull objects faster than a speeding bullet, levitate a train, or reveal a brain tumour. They’re integral to computer hard drives, smart phones, and LCD screens, as well as the central communications system of every family – the refrigerator door.

Magnets.

If Muralee Murugesu has his way, he’s going to make them even better: smaller, cheaper, and more energy-efficient.

Working in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ottawa, Murugesu is studying how to design and create high-density, energy-saving nano-magnetic material.

“We need to be innovative if we want to build faster, more cost-effective computers,” says Murugesu. “If we can use a single molecule as a magnet component in a computing device, we can store a lot more information in a small surface with less energy consumption.”

He focuses on single-molecule magnets (SMMs) that use rare earth elements (rare metals) known as lanthanides. These tiny field generators can be used in a wide variety of electronic devices. They can be used in wind turbines, energy-efficient LED lights, and hybrid cars.

“What we are really doing is engineering at the molecular level,” he says.

By designing these nano-magnetic materials, Murugesu can provide high-tech companies with the cutting-edge material they need to create tomorrow’s more cost- and energy-effective technologies – from super computers to even smarter smart phones.

More Researchers
Wilfrid Laurier University
Does high frequency trading harm financial markets?
University of Toronto
How can we put an end to family violence?
OCAD University
How can sculpture save a baby's life?