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Chemnitz University of Technology Advances Future Materials Research Based on Magnetoelectrics

Chemnitz University of Technology joins international EU project researching magnetoelectric materials for energy-saving and secure IT infrastructure and new cancer therapies

Chemnitz University of Technology has been part of an international consortium for research into magnetoelectric systems since June 1, 2021. The lead on the Chemnitz side is Prof. Dr. Karin Leistner, holder of the Professorship of Electrochemical Sensors and Energy Storage at the Institute of Chemistry at Chemnitz University of Technology. The project was transferred to Chemnitz University of Technology when Prof. Dr. Karin Leistner moved to the university from the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research (IFW) Dresden. The project entitled "Magnetoelectrics Beyond 2020: A training program on Energy-Efficient Magnetoelectric Nanomaterials for Advanced Information and Healthcare Technologies (BeMAGIC)" is interdisciplinary and international in scope. A total of 25 European partners are involved in BeMAGIC. In addition to numerous leading international scientific institutions such as the University of Cambridge and ETH Zurich, the consortium also includes eight private companies. The project coordinator is Prof. Dr. Jordi Sort from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in Spain. The project is funded by the European Union with about four million euro as part of the Horizon 2020 program and will run until 2024.

Magnetoelectric materials are characterized by magnetic properties on the nanoscale that can be switched via an electrical voltage. Conventional magnetic components, on the other hand, are mainly controlled via electric currents, as in electromagnets, with the resulting Joule heat leading to severe energy losses. Magnetoelectric materials avoid these Joule losses and thus offer innovative solutions to the energy problem in the IT sector and to new data security concepts. At the same time, the reverse effect, i.e. electrical stimulation by external magnetic fields, can also be exploited in magnetoelectric materials. This effect is promising for non-invasive and locally controllable biomedical approaches for cancer therapy. For the first time, the interdisciplinary BeMAGIC project links researchers and users in all these fields to enable synergy and drive progress in these globally important issues in Europe. "The project also aims to provide excellent training for young scientists in the field of magnetoelectric materials to address global challenges in energy, security, and health," explains Prof. Karin Leistner.

Research on magneto-ionic materials in Chemnitz as a new class of materials 

In Chemnitz, magneto-ionic materials are now being developed as a new class of materials in the field of magnetoelectrics for this project. The control of magneto-ionic material systems, such as electrolytically loaded iron oxide/iron nanocomposites, is achieved via potential-induced electrochemical reactions with low power consumption. Thus, such systems have the advantage of high energy efficiency and are very promising for magnetic devices with low energy consumption in the IT sector. At Chemnitz University of Technology, magneto-ionic materials are characterized using special in-situ methods. This means that the magnetic properties of the samples are measured in an electrolytic environment and at applied voltage. Maksim Kutuzau, a doctoral student in BeMAGIC, is particularly interested in the electrochemical control of magnetic properties of Fe and Ni nanostructures via hydrogen loading. In the course of the project, research stays are planned for him at UAB in Barcelona and at the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM) in Torino, among others.

For additional information, please contact Prof. Dr. Karin Leistner, Chair of Electrochemical Sensors and Energy Storage, Phone: +49 371 531-36463, E-mail: karin.leistner@chemie.tu-chemnitz.de.

(Author: Matthias Fejes / Translation: Chelsea Burris)

Matthias Fejes

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