From the Stuff-That-Could-Be-Important-Someday file, a team at London's Imperial College says it has found a way to manipulate the magnetic properties of a common blue fabric dye in ways that could revolutionize the flow of information in computer systems.
The team, led by Dr. Sandrine Heutz of the college's Department of Materials, says it can control the magnetic interactions within clusters of Metal Phthalocyanine (MPc) molecules to allow their metal centers to spin in relation to one another. Dr. Heutz claims that her approach could theoretically expand the traditional binary "on/off" approach to data management and storage to include multiple states of on and off.
The "spintronics" method could also propel the development of quantum computing by enabling the processing of qbits that would put current processors to shame.
The team has successfully refined the process in the laboratory, and Dr. Huetz says it should take another five years or so to develop a practical application.