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Magnetism

Electromagnetic Theory

binary number system, Superconducting magnets, magnetic levitation, computer revolution, powerful magnets

Numerous applications of magnetism and of magnetic materials have arisen in the past 100 years. The electromagnet, for example, is the basis of the electric motor and the transformer. In more recent times, the development of new magnetic materials has also been important in the computer revolution. Computer memories can be fabricated using bubble domains. These domains are actually smaller regions of magnetization that are either parallel or antiparallel to the overall magnetization of the material. Depending on this direction, the bubble indicates either a one or a zero, thus serving as the units of the binary number system used in computers. Magnetic materials are also important constituents of tapes and disks on which data are stored.

In addition to the atomic-sized magnetic units used in computers, large, powerful magnets are crucial to a variety of modern technologies. Powerful magnetic fields are used in nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, an important diagnostic tool used by doctors. Superconducting magnets are used in today's most powerful particle accelerators to keep the accelerated particles focused and moving in a curved path. Scientists are developing magnetic levitation trains that use strong magnets to enable trains to float above the tracks, reducing friction.



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