Nothing hap­pens. Nothing hap­pens. And then every­thing hap­pens,” says Laura Lewis, Pro­fessor of Chem­ical Engi­neering at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston, Massachusetts.

Our results are highly pre­lim­i­nary but we have found sig­na­tures of lay­ering in the mate­rials we have made.” This is sig­nif­i­cant, she says, because the lay­ering of iron and nickel sug­gests that the nano­ma­te­rial they are trying to make can become a “super­magnet”. It is designed to be a syn­thetic form of tetrataenite, a rare mag­netic extra-​​terrestrial iron-​​nickel alloy found only in meteorites.

Lewis is leading a $3.3m (£2.2m) fast-​​track Depart­ment of Energy research project to syn­the­sise new super­mag­netic mate­rials and then work out how to mass-​​produce them for a market that is worth $20bn (£13bn) a year.

Read the article at Wired →