New Twists on Magnetism
Nanoscience—the study of structures and materials on an extremely tiny scale—has led to sweeping changes in what information and communications technology (ICT) can do. Nanotechnology—the application of nanoscience—is fuelling the trend toward smaller, faster, more capable devices, driving the ICT economy at the hardware level.
For example, nanomagnets—very small magnets with special properties—led to the development of magnetic data storage systems that fundamentally changed the hard disk drive industry.
As Canada Research Chair in Condensed Matter Physics, Dr. Mark Freeman’s goal is to explore the physical limits of nanotechnology and answer key questions about magnetism.
His research has already increased our understanding of how magnetism works at the microscopic and nanoscopic levels—for example, the fundamental properties that underlie technologies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Freeman and his research team have also begun to capitalize on the potential of nanomechanics and optomechanics to advance the science of magnetism by showing how torque measurements (torque is the angular force required to turn something) can map tiny magnets with exquisite precision.
Freeman’s team will continue to explore nanotechnology’s ability to generate new applications for magnetism. One example is a nanomechanical “lab on a chip”—a tool that can simplify advanced magnetic analysis for device development and interdisciplinary science. The ultimate goal of Freeman’s research is to help create materials and devices that will support magnetic information storage, improvements in nanofabrication processes, and rapid prototyping of new technologies.