ICEAA 2010 Syndey, Australia: Ferromagnetic vortex in nanomagnets used to kill cancer cells

This year’s International Conference on Electromagnetics and Advanced Applications (ICEAA) was held a few weeks ago in Sydney, Australia. 2010 was the tenth anniversary for this well-established conference series which features an interesting mix of scientists and engineers working a wide range of topics, from fundamental issues in nanoscale magnetism all the way to the latest radar and stealth technology such as cloaking. Surprisingly, Harry Potter is not the only one working on this . Apparently, at least in one color,  metamaterials (with negative index of refraction) can deflect light around objects and make them invisible.

I gave my invited talk during one of the first sessions, dedicated to Nano-magnetism and Magnetic Materials. One of the most exciting new results discussed there was the recent result of Valentyn Novosad his his collaborators a Argonne National Lab. Val and his colleagues used functionalized  submicron permalloy discs in the so-called ferromagnetic vortex state (a needle-like magnetization state in a pancake shaped nanoscale metallic particle) and a low frequency external magnetic field to induce programmed cell death in cancer cells! Their paper appeared recently in Nature Materials.  While we have used the ferromagnetic vortex state to propose novel spintronics application, and others have used these topologica singularities for a variety of applications, this recent use of the FM vortex state to kill cancer cells  is the most spectacular  so far. Will get Valentyn to visit us and give a Condensed Matter Seminar on this soon.

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