Feeds

Aussie boffins discover fifth form of carbon

Strewth - it's magnetic!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Boffins at Australia’s National University in Canberra have made a new - and magnetic - form of carbon which they have dubbed nanofoam. Because of its unique magnetic properties, it could have important medical applications, the team says.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society in Montreal, Canada, John Giapintzakis of the University of Crete said he has studied the foam using an electron microscope, and had determined that it was a fifth form of carbon. He also discovered its magnetic properties.

Carbon assumes this new foam-like structure when subjected to high-energy laser light. When the carbon reached around 10,000°C, it shaped itself into a lattice, or web of carbon nanotubes, according to a report on Nature.

Although the foam loses its magnetism after a few hours at room temperature, even this short amount of time opens up several possible applications, according to Giapintzakis. It could make it possible to use magnetic resonance imaging to observe blood-flow, for example.

Nature also suggests that it could be used to treat tumours, because it is bad at transferring heat: David Tománek of Michigan State University said that the foam could be injected into tumours and then heated. The foam would absorb the heat, and kill the tumour as the temperature rose. ®

Those other four forms of carbon in full:

  • Diamond: Hardest substance known to man, good for transmitting light, too. Particularly favoured by J'Lo, especially in its slightly pink form.

  • Graphite: Remember pencils? The old timers used them to write stuff before computers were invented. That's carbon too. The layers in graphite slip over each other very easily, which makes it great for writing with, and a useful industrial lubricant.

  • Bucky Balls, aka Buckminsterfullerines: These are the roundest and most symmetrical large molecule we know of. They are formed from 60 atoms of carbon bonded together in a combination of pentagons and hexagons to form a ball, just like a soccer ball. Not yet sponsored by Nike.

  • Nanotubes: Nanotubes are very strong cylinders of carbon just one nanometre across, and up to tens of nanometres long. They might be used to strengthen polymers, and could be thought of as prototypes for a one-dimensional quantum wire.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.