Japanese and U.S. scientists have discovered a material that may demonstrate a highly unusual liquid magnetic state at very low temperatures.
Scientists at Kyoto University in Japan synthesized the material, nickel gallium sulfide — NiGa2S4.
The Japanese team — along with researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland and the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, studied its properties.
The scientists studied the polycrystalline sample using both X-rays and neutrons to understand its structure and properties. The neutron experiments were conducted at the NIST Center for Neutron Research.
The team found the triangular arrangement of the material’s atoms appears to prevent alignment of magnetic spins, the characteristic of electrons that produces magnetism.
A liquid magnetic state occurs when magnetic spins fluctuate in a disorderedly, fluid-like arrangement that does not produce an overall magnetic force.
The state was proposed as theoretically possible about 30 years ago.