Researchers at the University of Utah and Ohio State have developed a light-tunable plastic magnet.
February 5, 2002 8:32 PM   Subscribe

Researchers at the University of Utah and Ohio State have developed a light-tunable plastic magnet. "The researchers developed a plastic material that becomes 1.5 times more magnetic when blue light shines on it. Green light partially reverses that effect." My mind is now completely blown.
posted by mr_crash_davis (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In addition to the neat magnet, I learned the following from the article:

Today, liquid nitrogen costs less per gallon than milk - roughly $2.

Well, how about that. I wonder whether liquid nitrogen goes with pancakes.


Nevermind pancakes, liquid nitrogen is great for lasers.
posted by iceberg273 at 8:46 PM on February 5, 2002

I am now tempted to buy five gallons of liquid nitrogen.

Just coz.
posted by Neale at 9:21 PM on February 5, 2002

Liquid nitrogen may be cheap, but the equipment needed to keep it liquid is not.
posted by kindall at 9:47 PM on February 5, 2002

Yeah, that'll come in handy when overclocking too much. I feel like pouring liquid nitrogen over my tower.
posted by dai at 9:48 PM on February 5, 2002

If it were responsive enough you could build a motor with it, a motor powered only by the change in color of light shining on it. Changing the color of a light requires very little energy, though maintaining the lights does have a cost. How efficient could such a system be?

Of course, it's not that responsive, nor does it work at room temperature, but still, very cool link.
posted by Nothing at 10:25 PM on February 5, 2002

Wasn't the University of Utah also responsible for Cold Fusion?
posted by benbrown at 12:03 AM on February 6, 2002

Keeping liquid nitrogen is very cheap. I've kept it in metal Thermos bottles for weeks at a time. Now liquifying it in the first place, that'll cost ya.
posted by Qubit at 5:27 AM on February 6, 2002

wow, and we just got ovonics! two steps ahead of tomorrow :)
posted by kliuless at 6:37 AM on February 6, 2002

Stanley Pons, half of the "cold fusion" team of Fleischmann and Pons, was then-chairman of the chemistry department at the University of Utah. After the firestorm of criticism that followed the general failure of the scientific community to fully reproduce their results, both academics quit their jobs and now work in the private sector. Pons has moved to France. Cold fusion (now usually called "the Pons-Fleischmann Effect") remains a research niche with promising applications recognized by major laboratories, though nothing like the energy source that it was hyped to be. The University of Utah no longer does any research in this area, though, and has abandoned attempts to patent the process.

Because the effect relies on electrolysis, it has much overlap with research into fuel cells, and a cold fusion setup is also called a "Pons Fleischmann cell". The main advocate insists that it can be useful if the hype is discarded and we start from scratch examining what the effect really is and does.

So it's still out there. It's just that there isn't much it can do. If Pons's assistant Steven Jones hadn't coined the name "cold fusion", it might have been more honestly evaluated from the beginning.
posted by dhartung at 6:46 AM on February 6, 2002

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