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Ohio State researchers discover Giant spin Seebeck effect


Giant spin-Seebeck effect could
provide power from waste heat

spin/phonon effect increased 1000-fold in
semiconductor with strong spin-orbit interactions

An OSU research team has been studying the interaction between heat and magnetic materials. One such effect, called the spin-Seebeck effect, allows for heat to move magnetic information. The magnetic information is then converted into electrical power. The OSU team previously observed the effect to occur in a magnetic semiconductor but it produced small electrical power. The effect can be maximized when heat particles, called phonons, drag the magnetic moments. This past year, the OSU team discovered that the effect is 1000 times larger in a material that contains no magnetism. This strange result is explained since the electrical charges in the material can also have magnetism due to a property called spin. The effect is strong enough that the OSU team is now examining if it might be useful for converting heat into electrical power based on this spin effect. Their research is now focused on determining what properties allow heat/magnetism/spin effects to become largest and then producing materials that display those effects.

Giant Spn Seebecki

When heat causes atoms to vibrate in a crystal, those vibrations can rotate the magnetism of electrical charges, called spin.