Scientists Build Magnetic Gold Superatoms

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Molecular electronics could undergo a revolution. Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University discovered a magnetic super atom that might be able to make your computer smaller, faster and more powerful.

Professor Shiv Khanna, researchers J. Ulises Reveles, A.C. Reber, P. Clayborne and unnamed government collaborators discovered a superatom consisting of one vanadium atom and eight cesium atoms that can mimic the magnetic properties of a single manganese atom while still allowing the flow of certain electrons. Khanna told Science Daily:

A combination such as the one we have created here can lead to significant developments in the area of "molecular electronics," a field where researchers study electric currents through small molecules. These molecular devices are expected to help make non-volatile data storage, denser integrated devices, higher data processing and other benefits.


Khanna is now making molecules with the superatoms to explore their conductivity further, and trying to make other superatoms out of gold in order to eliminate their conductivity while maintaining their magnetic properties, which would be of use in biomedical applications. In other words, gold superatoms would take away some of the powers of this superatom.

Magnetic Super-atoms Discovered [Science Daily]

[Image via Shiv Khanna]