The idea that magnetic particles suspended in a liquid crystal might spontaneously orient into a ferromagnetic state has been around for decades but had not been confirmed experimentally. Alenka Mertelj and colleagues have now realized such a state using nanosized ferromagnetic platelets in a nematic liquid crystal. The shape of the thin platelets is key to the development of ferromagnetic ordering. The resulting 'liquid magnet' phase responds to very small magnetic fields and may lead to new magneto–optic devices.
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