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Physics Student at Lehman College Publishes Research That May Help Boost Computer Memory

April 7, 2010

Reem Jaafar

Recent research by Reem Jaafar, a physics doctoral student at Lehman College, may ultimately lead to faster computer and larger memories.

Jaafar's article in the January 2010 issue of the highly prestigious journal Europhysics Letters was selected from among more than 60 international articles as an "Editor's Choice" because of its potential importance. Then two months later, the article was awarded another honor when it was selected from among hundreds of articles for Europhysics News, which is aimed at the general reader.

In it, she discusses her study of spin-rotation effects in a magnetic molecule that is bridged between two conducting leads and presents a new quantum theory for measuring the movement of such a molecule in an electrical circuit. A magnetic molecule is the smallest nanomagnet that one day can become part of a computer memory unit.

Entitled "Single Magnetic Molecule Between Conducting Leads: Effect of Mechanical Rotations," it was co-authored with two Lehman faculty members, Distinguished Professor of Physics Eugene Chudnovsky and Associate Professor Dmitry A. Garanin.

"All memory storage is magnetic on modern computers," says Dr. Chudnovsky, who chairs Lehman's Physics and Astronomy Department. "On a computer disc there are billions of magnetic particles. And smaller and smaller units of magnetic memory will create computers with more and more memory space."

Jaafar is completing her Ph.D. in physics at Lehman and also is teaching research skills to a dozen students from the High School of American Studies at Lehman College.

A senior college of the City University of New York, Lehman enrolls more than 12,000 students and offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education and other professional areas.