Novel magnets made from the strongest known hydrogen bond

December 6, 2006
Novel magnets made from the strongest known hydrogen bond
A new hydrogen bond magnet which is stable up to 200 degrees Celsius. Credit: University of Oxford

A team of scientists from the US, the UK and Germany has been the first to make a magnetic material constructed from nature's strongest known hydrogen bond. Hydrogen bonds are responsible for many of the properties of water and for holding together the DNA double helix.

However, hydrogen bonds are normally rather weak but the new compound contains the bifluoride ion in which a hydrogen atom is tightly bound to two fluorine atoms. This leads to the new magnet being stable up to 200 degrees Celsius.

The work is published in the latest issue of the journal Chemical Communications, where it features on its cover.

The magnetic properties of the material were measured using muons by a team at Oxford University, headed by Stephen Blundell, Professorial Fellow in Physics at Mansfield College. He said: ‘Muons are tiny, sub-atomic particles which can be implanted into materials. They behave like tiny gyroscopes and spin round when they experience a magnetic field.’

Using this method, which is uniquely sensitive to magnetism in these types of magnetic material, the researchers found that there is no overall magnetism at room temperature; however, as the temperature is lowered, copper magnetic moments begin to align, producing a microscopic magnetic field visible to the implanted muons below a temperature of 1.54 Kelvin.

These experiments were performed at ISIS, the world's most intense source of pulsed muons, located in Oxfordshire, UK.

The team hopes that the magnetic studies will help them understand to what extent bifluoride units and their hydrogen bonds influence the spin arrangement on neighbouring magnetic centres.

Source: University of Oxford

Explore further: Hubble provides interstellar road map for Voyagers' galactic trek

Related Stories

Novel technique helps ID elusive molecules

December 21, 2016

Among the most important molecules in the living world are sugars or carbohydrates, which play a vital role in life processes. Sugars provide the main source of fuel for the body, protect muscles from damage and contribute ...

National MagLab racks up new world record with hybrid magnet

November 10, 2016

After a decade of planning, designing and building, the Florida State University-based National High Magnetic Field Laboratory now has the strongest magnet in the world for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, a ...

Fusion energy—a time of transition and potential

November 30, 2016

For centuries, humans have dreamed of harnessing the power of the sun to energize our lives here on Earth. But we want to go beyond collecting solar energy, and one day generate our own from a mini-sun. If we're able to solve ...

Recommended for you

How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

January 16, 2017

66 million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth. Climate scientists have now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid ...

Considering cattle could help eliminate malaria in India

January 16, 2017

The goal of eliminating malaria in countries like India could be more achievable if mosquito-control efforts take into account the relationship between mosquitoes and cattle, according to an international team of researchers.

Nanoscale view of energy storage

January 16, 2017

In a lab 18 feet below the Engineering Quad of Stanford University, researchers in the Dionne lab camped out with one of the most advanced microscopes in the world to capture an unimaginably small reaction.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.