Aug 20, 2012Science and Technology
Quantum hall for all

University of Tokyo and RIKEN Institute researchers exploit a new type of magnetic phase in materials to eliminate electrical power loss. The team's device uses a type of quantum hall effect, a sort of magnetic synchronization, to produce channels within certain materials that allow for lossless power transmission. The material itself is known as a "magnetic topological insulator," which eliminates the need for the large, cumbersome magnet apparatus required to achieve the effect in other materials. The key to the interaction is that the material contains magnetic particles peppered in amongst the more numerous normal current-carrying molecules. Unfortunately, the current research does have its drawbacks -- the effect only occurs at cryogenic conditions -- but the researchers anticipate these could be removed with further material improvements.

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