An international research team led by the University at Buffalo has described how they paired a magnet with graphene, and induced what they describe as “artificial magnetic texture” in the nonmagnetic wonder material.
For their experiments, researchers placed a 20-nanometer-thick magnet in direct contact with a sheet of graphene, which is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice that is less than 1 nanometer thick.
Researchers then placed eight electrodes in different spots around the graphene and magnet to measure their conductivity.
The electrodes revealed a surprise — the magnet induced an artificial magnetic texture in the graphene that persisted even in areas of the graphene away from the magnet. Put simply, the intimate contact between the two objects caused the normally nonmagnetic carbon to behave differently, exhibiting magnetic properties similar to common magnetic materials like iron or cobalt.
Moreover, it was found that these properties could overwhelm completely the natural properties of the graphene, even when looking several microns away from the contact point of the graphene and the magnet. This distance (a micron is a millionth of a meter), while incredibly small, is relatively large microscopically speaking. (SciTechDaily)
The study has been published in the journal Physical Review Letters.