NOV 22, 2022 6:00 AM PST

Researchers Develop Material with Memory Using Magnets

Credit: Pixabay

In a recent study published in Sciences Advances, a team of researchers from Aalto University in Finland have developed a new material that possesses a form of adaptive memory based on its ability to alter its electrical behavior from its experiences. This study holds the potential to develop more advanced forms of environmental and medical sensors, to include active surfaces and soft robots.

“One of the next big challenges in material science is to develop truly smart materials inspired by living organisms. We wanted to develop a material that would adjust its behavior based on its history,” said Dr. Bo Peng, an Academy Research Fellow at Aalto University and a co-author on the study.

For the study, the researchers successfully stimulated magnetic nanobeads with a magnetic field, which resulted in the beads stacking like pillars, with the shape of pillars being directly affected by the strength of the magnetic field, and the shape determining the pillar’s electrical conductivity.

“With this system, we coupled the magnetic field stimulus and the electrical response,” said Dr. Peng. “Interestingly, we found that the electrical conductivity depends on whether we varied the magnetic field rapidly or slowly. That means that the electrical response depends on the history of the magnetic field. The electrical behavior was also different if the magnetic field was increasing or decreasing. The response showed bistability, which is an elementary form of memory. The material behaves as though it has a memory of the magnetic field.”

The researchers note the findings “suggest promising concepts for the development of life-like concepts using magnetic fields, which are suggested to allow remote controls for interactive materials, such as for remotely controlled soft robots.”

Sources: Sciences Advances, Elveflow 

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
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