School of Physics & Astronomy

Magnetism and magnetic materials

The fundamental magnetic properties of elements, alloys and compounds are studied by the Magnetism and Superconductivity Group. In particular we are addressing problems which are central to modern magnetism, namely the interplay of structural, electronic and magnetic properties, and the mechanisms responsible for magnetic moment formation in elements and alloys. We have recently been able to generate and study a "collective quantum state" of matter, where 10^23 electrons behaved as a coherent group in an exotic superconducting oxide.

St Andrews researchers at the ISIS neutron sourceModelling, sample preparation and sample characterisation is carried out in St Andrews. Experimental studies of magnetic materials using beams of neutrons or muons are performed by group members at central facilities in the UK and continental Europe.  The picture to the right shows St Andrews researchers preparing their sample and apparatus next to the neutron and muon source "ISIS" in Oxfordshire.

Limpet's teeth (fine grain magnets)While many samples are prepared in-house, some interesting systems are produced naturally. For example, limpets' teeth (as shown in our picture) and various proteins in the body contain very fine-grained magnets that are of interest.

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