Researchers at The Ohio State University have discovered how to control heat with a magnetic field.
In the March 23 issue of the journal Nature Materials, they describe how a magnetic field roughly the size of a medical MRI reduced the amount of heat flowing through a semiconductor by 12 percent.
The study is the first ever to prove that acoustic phonons—the elemental particles that transmit both heat and sound—have magnetic properties.
“This adds a new dimension to our understanding of acoustic waves,” said Joseph Heremans, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Nanotechnology and professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio State. “We’ve shown that we can steer heat magnetically. With a strong enough magnetic field, we should be able to steer sound waves, too.”