- Number 346 |
- September 19, 2011
Neutron analysis reveals unique 'cobalt blue'
Blue’s clues: Studies of magnetic
interactions deep within cobalt
aluminate’s atomic structure may
provide clues toward the
development of energy-efficient
technologies. (Light sconce image
courtesy B. Jefferson Bolender).
Neutron scattering studies of "cobalt blue," a compound prized by artists for its lustrous blue hue, are revealing unique magnetic characteristics that could answer questions about mysterious properties in other materials.
Experiments at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), both located at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, indicate novel behaviors in the antiferromagnetic material cobalt aluminum oxide, — CoAl2O4, or cobalt aluminate. The material is described as a "highly frustrated magnetic system.""Frustrated" in this context refers to a condition where competing interactions between the magnetic spins within the atomic structure prevent the establishment of a long-range ordered state.
[Kristin Manke, 509.372.6011,