Monday, September 26, 2011

World’s First Anti-Magnet to Serve as 'Magnetic Shield'

X-men’s Magneto isn’t the only who can shield magnetic fields.

Spanish researchers have designed what they call the world's first "anti-magnet," a magnetic cloak that can act as a shield they envision helping the military and saving lives. For example, some types of mines in the ocean are set to detonate upon detection of magnetic fields from ships passing above them. Military ships could use an anti-magnet to stop their magnetic fields from tripping the mines.

“It was a big explosion in science [in 2008] -- the possibility of cloaking electromagnetic waves,” professor Alvar Sanchez from from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain and the lead author of the design told “So we came up with the idea of trying to make something similar with magnetic fields, and now we have come up with a device we hope can be constructed eventually that will have these properties of an anti-magnet.”

An anti-magnet could protect medical patients as readily as military ships, the researchers theorize. Potentially, those using pacemakers could interact more readily with medical equipment.

“For example, in magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], in principal, you can protect the pacemaker from the field, but often you would need to distort the magnetic field, so then the quality of the images is bad,” Sanchez told “We hope in the future our device can be put on the chest of the patient to prevent the magnetic field from entering, while at the same time not causing any distortion.” more