Now neodymium magnets have competition. A research group led by Colin A. Gould, from the University of California at Berkeley, has developed a new compound with two atoms of an element that is also a rare earth element, such as dysprosium or terbium, among which are three atoms of iodine in a triangle.
In this new substance, the two metal atoms are also connected by a bond that runs right through the center of the iodine triangle. This special configuration not only generates very strong magnetism, but it is also the first direct bond between two rare earths in a molecule so far.
In theory, very powerful magnets can be made by bonding these rare earths to metals such as iron or nickel, but until now no substance with directly bonded rare earths existed. Such a bond exists in the newly discovered molecule, but it is so weak that the two metal atoms have to be held together by three iodine atoms for it to be stable.
h/t 16 Blocks
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