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Study Finds New Properties in “Non-Magnetic” Materials

A team of Penn State researchers has shown for the first time that the entire class of "non-magnetic" materials, such as those used in some computer components, could have considerably more uses than scientists had thought. The findings are important because they reveal previously unknown information about the structure of these materials, expanding the number of properties that they potentially could have. A material's properties, such as electrical conductivity and mechanical strength, are what determine its usefulness. The research will be published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Read full article at PennState website drawing of non-magnetic lattice

Credit: Sava Denev, Penn State

A "non-magnetic lattice," shown in Figure A, can have the same symmetry as a magnetic lattice, shown in Figure B. Both lattices, in this case, are described as having the point group symmetry that the scientists call 4'mm'.

Figure A ("non-magnetic" material): The "non-magnetic" crystal structure of strontium titanate, SrTiO3, is composed of strontium (blue balls), titanium (red balls), and oxygen (yellow balls). The grey motifs are oxygen octahedra structures that twist counter to the neighboring octahedra, as shown by the green arrows.