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David Bradley ISSUE #6
April 2000

Plastic magnet, fantastic

A thin, film magnetic organic material that is relatively stable in air at room temperature has been successfully synthesised by Joel Miller and his team at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. With a few chemical tweaks the material might be exploited in a range of applications from electrical engineering to computing.

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By depositing the organic material from the vapour phase Miller's team could make a thin film that sticks to a variety of materials, from Teflon to glass to metals, thus rendering the object being coated attractive magnetically. According to Miller, the materials do degrade in air, but only very slowly.

The fact that the thin films - based on an organovanadium complex - can be used to coat almost any shaped surface and be flexible, opens the way to novel approaches to computer storage memory and magnetic shielding devices for electronic components. Their air stability might not be an issue for many such devices as protective coatings are being developed, Miller told RR.

Adv Mater, 2000, 12, 410