Cumings to Speak at APS "March Meeting"

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MSE Assistant Professor John Cumings.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor John Cumings will deliver a presentation titled "Artificial Kagome Spin Ice" at the Meeting of the American Physical Society, March 10-14, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The work will also be published in Physical Review B.

The talk will focus on the Cumings group's work on artificial spin ice, a meta-material that mimics the behavior of ice. A collection of "pseudo-atoms", it is made of a nickel-iron alloy. Each pseudo-atom is a large-scale model made out of millions of atoms whose collective behavior mimics that of a single one. Magnetic fields (spins) are stand-ins for hydrogen atoms found in water and ice, and simulate their physical positions and bonding behavior.

Working at this "large" scale—each pseudo-atom is 100x30 nanometers in size—gives the researchers control over the material and freedom to explore how real atoms behave. Artificial spin ice is tunable and easily imaged, yielding information that is difficult to obtain from the real materials it represents. It is being used to study the crystal lattice of ice and the behavior of other geometrically-frustrated materials.

The American Physical Society is the premiere physics society in the country, with over 40,000 members involved in academic, national, international, and governmental work. It publishes some of the most prestigious physics journals, including Physical Review Letters. Its so-called “March Meeting”, which focuses on condensed matter and materials physics, is the largest it sponsors. A showcase for the best in physics research, speakers are selected and invited after a competitive nomination process.

This is the second year in a row that Cumings has been invited to present his research, and he is excited to have the opportunity to do so. "I am pleased that the APS has waived its policy prohibiting back-to-back invitations to recognize the importance of this work," he said.

Related Story:

Cumings Invited to Speak at American Physical Society »

Learn More:

View the presentation's abstract »
Read the paper: "Direct observation of the ice rule in artificial kagome spin ice" »
The American Physical Society »

Published March 3, 2008