What wicked smaht people write about

Magnetic anisotropies of laterally confined structures of epitaxial Fe films on GaAs (001)

We have investigated magnetic properties of laterally confined structures of epitaxial Fe films on GaAs (001). Fe films with different thicknesses were grown by molecular-beam epitaxy and patterned into regular arrays of rectangles with varying aspect ratios. In-plane magnetic anisotropy was observed in all of the patterned Fe films both at 15 and 300 K. We have demonstrated that the coercive fields can be tuned by varying the aspect ratios of the structures. The magnitudes of the corresponding anisotropy constants have been determined and the shape anisotropy constant is found to be enhanced as the aspect ratio is increased. (source)

I have no idea what any of that means. Nevertheless, I am pretty damned impressed and proud of my little cousin Jennifer, one of the authors of that work.

One time, she took me to the lab where she works. She was trying to explain what she did there. I just had this bewildered look on my face. Finally, she gave up trying to explain it to me and said “hey, wanna dunk things in liquid nitrogen and then smash them?”

Now THAT was something I understood.

I am not sure that the passer-by understood why a 40 year old man was laughing at the top of his lungs, surrounded by a swirling mist, smashing things.

5 Responses to What wicked smaht people write about

  1. Charles Platt says:

    She’s depositing very thin iron-based films as patterns of rectangles on gallium arsenide, which is commonly used as a foundation for semiconductors. She finds that the rectangles create a force that varies with the shape, when they are magnetized, and this effect applies over a very wide temperature range. I can imagine applications in MEMS chips (microelectronic mechanical systems) which are popular as sensors. The air bag in your car is probably triggered by a MEMS chip. But I’m just guessing.

    Hope this helps, Marc! Did she let you dip your hand into the liquid nitrogen? Very very briefly of course! That’s the fun part.

  2. No, she told me that was dangerous.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I have since learned to make instant ice cream with liquid nitrogen… now that is fun and tasty. We can do that if you are ever back around the lab.

  4. M says:

    Looks like some of the prior art I have to put my eng/science hat on and read occasionally. Dipping and smashing things sounds like a wonderful way to get a jury’s attention. Fun stuff!

    Most legal writing sounds just as arcane to the lay audience as that paragraph does to non-scientists.

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