Feeds

Boffins' invisible magnetic ring pieces: Next-gen mobe emitters

Wire aerials? Pah. You need a nanoscale 3D vortex

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Vid German boffins have discovered that two microscopic magnets glued together can create a radio antenna capable of transmitting into the GHz band - where mobile phone signals and other tech lies.

The disks are only 500 billionths of a metre wide and 10nm thick, so even once a pair of them are stuck together with a similarly sized non-magnetic layer between them, the overall component is still bloody small. At the centre of the resulting disk is a stable magnetic vortex allowing the device to transmit radio signals. It paves the way for a new generation of tiny antennas.

Details of the research appeared in Physics Letters, in a paper authored by researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf working with fellow boffins at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). While the study is traitorously complicated, the implications are significant.

The existence of vortices in nanoscale magnetic disks has been known for a while. Various researchers hope to exploit them as computer memory, but the breakthrough here is the discovery that two stupidly tiny magnets will stabilise each other and thus permit high-frequency transmissions.

A magnetic disk 500nm across has north and south poles circling it, as though one has taken a chain of bar magnets and attached the last to the first to make a circle, a series of which make up the disk. But as one approaches the centre of the ring there is no longer room for our chain of poles so they're obliged to stand up, or point down, and it's this duality of position which lends itself to computer memory.

Apply a voltage to the disk and the vortex spins and emits radio waves. This is fine to a point, although once the frequency starts to get anywhere useful the polarity reverses and the spinning stops and has to be run up again in the opposite direction - not ideal for contiguous transmission.

Which is where the second disk comes in. Once the two disks are glued together the circular pattern of bar magnets goes into three dimensions: as well as curving around the disk our hypothetical magnets curve into each other creating something akin to a torus, stabilising the vortex core which can now be spun at much higher speeds.

Image showing poles and lines

My chips are in pole position ... how the magnets work

We’re still a long way from nanoscopic transmitters, at the spark-gap stage of magnetic radio, and these projects are as much about understanding what magnetism can do as finding practical applications for it. As we learn more it's becoming clear that magnets still have enormous untapped potential.

To demonstrate that, and prove that not all magnetic innovations need electron-beam lithography, here's a video of an amiable old man showing a Star Trek tractor beam in action:

Watch Video

®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.