10.15.2009

'Magnetic electricity' discovered

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8307804.stm
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46550000/jpg/_46550389_spinice0562.jpg
["Magnetricity" only exists inside special types of crystals]
Researchers have discovered a magnetic equivalent to electricity: single magnetic charges that can behave and interact like electrical ones.
The work is the first to make use of the magnetic monopoles that exist in special crystals known as spin ice.
Writing in Nature journal, a team showed that monopoles gather to form a "magnetic current" like electricity.
The phenomenon, dubbed "magnetricity", could be used in magnetic storage or in computing.
Magnetic monopoles were first predicted to exist over a century ago, as a perfect analogue to electric charges.
Although there are protons and electrons with net positive and negative electric charges, there were no particles in existence which carry magnetic charges. Rather, every magnet has a "north" and "south" pole.
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46550000/jpg/_46550390_a230105-magnetic_field-spl.jpg
[The loops of a magnetic field can be seen in the arrangement of iron filings]
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