Magnetic devices are now becoming a popular, if expensive, alternative to expensive, high-tech ones.
But what makes them different from expensive and complex high-end gadgets is their magnetism, says Dr Andrew M. Fenton, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Illinois.
“Magnetic devices are just a magnet,” he says.
“They’re very, very strong.
“The problem with that is that you can’t get a magnetic force.” “
And the thing is, when you put a magnet in the centre of a magnet, it attracts other magnets,” says Fenton.
“The problem with that is that you can’t get a magnetic force.”
Instead, magnets are created by a process called electrostatic discharge.
“Electrostatic discharge is the reaction of two magnetic objects, one magnetised and one non-magnetic, to cause an electric current to flow between them,” explains Fenton’s team.
“But when you start the discharge, you don’t create a magnet.”
The problem with electrostatic discharges is that they don’st produce a magnetic field.
Instead, they produce a weak magnetic field that can be converted into a strong magnetic field when applied to an object.
Magnetic lenses The most famous magnetic lens, invented in the 1960s, is a two-sided, mirror-like device with a focal length of two metres.
But a few decades ago, researchers developed a more effective, two-dimensional design that is much cheaper and simpler to make.
“This is a device that creates a magnetic attraction between two magnets, so it has a magnetic resonance that attracts them to each other,” explains Marnie Daley, a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University and lead author of a paper on the magnetic lens.
“You can make the mirror-type magnetic lens and you can use it to create a field that is a bit stronger than the magnetic field you want to create.”
The most recent example of magnetic lens technology is the one that is being tested at the National University of Singapore.
It is called the “magnetic field” lens and it is the product of a collaboration between researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Engineering Research Organisation.
It can produce a strong, non-reactive magnetic field in a single-walled cavity, which is useful for high-field applications, such as imaging.
Magnetic lens with a solar array, which uses a pair of solar arrays, to produce a field Source: NASA/NOAA/John G. Fischetti/NUDS/CNRS/CAS-CNRS magnetic lens in situ, which creates an electric field that attracts solar panels Source: National Institute on Solar System Research (NISS) Magnetic lens for use in solar panels, which have a field of the same strength as a magnetic lens Source: CERN/Jules Gaudet/Astro-Magnetic Laboratory Magnetic lenses for use on cars, which generate a strong electric field when placed in a magnetic slot Source: Jules Gudet/JULIUS NISS/Aero-Magnetics/NASA Magnetic lens on a mobile phone, which generates an electric magnetic field, which attracts mobile phone users Source: Aero-Magics/Aerosoft/CERN/NOaa Magnetic lens in a car, which produces a strong field Source (Image: AeroMagics) Another example is the Magnetic Lens on a Mobile Phone, which provides a magnetic magnet field for a smartphone user to use to turn it on and off.
The team behind the magnetic lenses, Jules and Marnia Gaudett, are currently working on the next generation of magnetic lenses that will be able to produce strong magnetic fields for more applications, including a mobile charging station.
Magnetic field lens for solar panel design, which converts electric field to magnetic field source: NASA magnetic field lens on an iPhone, which allows a user to turn on the device source: JL FISCHEEN/NASA The researchers are also working on creating a magnetic mirror-based lens for car-mounted charging stations, and a flexible solar panel that can produce magnetic fields.
In the future, magnetic lenses could be used to create an electric drive system that would generate a magnetic charge from a charge in the batteries, which would then be used in an electronic drive system.
FISCWEEN/NISS/CES/AESA Magnetic lens prototype in situ.
The field lens is created by applying a field to a piece of material, such a glass window or a glass screen.
This can be turned on and then off.
“We have already used these magnetic lenses to create electric drive systems for a small electric car,” says Gaudetti.
“So they’re very interesting for other applications.”
Magnetic lens using an array of solar panels.
Source: NISS Magnetic lens at a bus stop in Sydney, which shows how the field generated by the lens changes as the