Artist's rendering depicting a phonon heating a solid material
An artist's rendering depicting a phonon heating a solid material. Atoms of the material, shown in orange, are joined with flexible atomic bonds, shown as springs. The phonon imparts heat by colliding with the center atom, creating a vibration in the springs. The trail of the passing phonon is marked with increased magnetic field intensity (shown in green). The figure in the lower left shows the direction of the applied magnetic field.
More about this image
Researchers at The Ohio State University have discovered how to control heat with a magnetic field. Their study is the first ever to prove that acoustic phonons -- the elemental particles that transmit both heat and sound -- have magnetic properties.
The researchers found that a sufficiently strong magnetic field can cause phonons to collide with each other and be deflected off-course, which slows the flow of heat through the material. Funding for the study came in part from the National Science Foundation (NSF), including funds from the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Ohio State. Computing resources were provided by the Ohio Supercomputer Center.
To learn more about this research, see the Ohio State news story Landmark study proves that magnets can control heat and sound. (Date of Image: 2015)
Credit: Renee Ripley, courtesy of The Ohio State University
See other images like this on your iPhone or iPad download NSF Science Zone on the Apple App Store.
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.
Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation.
Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (3.6 MB)
Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.