Superconductors - Quantum systems – Molecular magnets – Multi ferroics – Novel electronics
In everyday life, magnets are found everywhere from cars, through mobile phones, to high-speed trains. But magnetic systems exist on all scales: elementary particles such as the electron and neutron act like tiny magnets; planets such as the Earth, Jupiter and Saturn (and once upon a time Mars) have powerful magnetic fields generated by massive dynamos at their cores.
Because of its elementary magnetic moment, the neutron can probe the magnetic properties of materials at the atomic level and even down to the nuclear level: it acts as a tiny compass exploring the inner structure of matter. It can detect and characterise the vibrational motions of the individual magnetic moments. From the characteristics of the vibrational modes, scientists and engineers can determine the interactions between the local moments, which are so important for the bulk properties of magnetic materials. In this way they have been able to optimise and develop more efficient magnets for technological applications.