Brown University researchers have devised a way to control both the size and composition of iron-platinum nanorods and nanowires. Nanorods with uniform shape and magnetic alignment are one key to the next generation of high-density information storage, but have been difficult to make in bulk.
The technique produces nanorods and nanowires from 20 nm to 200 nm long by varying the ratio of solvent and surfactant used in synthesis. Researchers also demonstrated that the same technique works to control the shape of cobalt-platinum nanorods, suggesting that it may work for many other combinations as well.
Just a few years ago, the average computer used a 120-GB disk drive to hold all of a userÃs information. Today’s multimedia-intensive user can exhaust that capacity in no time and the need continues to grow. Engineers expect to max out conventional magnetic storage techniques by about 2010, at which time nanotechnology may be the only viable alternative.
In addition to information storage, the method has potential in other areas where very dense magnetic charge is an advantage, including magnetic motors and generators. The stability and biocompatibility of the iron-platinum alloy also make such nanorods and nanowires good candidates for biological applications.