Magnetism researchers win Agilent prize
Mar 22, 2000
The Agilent Technologies Europhysics Prize for outstanding achievement in condensed-matter physics has been awarded to Gerrit van der Laan of the Daresbury Laboratory in the UK, Paolo Carra of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, and Gisela Schütz-Gmeineder of the University of Würzburg in Germany for their pioneering work in the study of magnetic materials with X-rays. The prize, which includes a cash award of SwFr 51000, was presented at the general conference of the condensed matter division of the European Physical Society in Montreux, Switzerland, last week.
Van der Laan, Carra and Schütz-Gmeineder share the prize for their work on X-ray magnetic dichroism, a technique in which circularly polarized X-rays are used to study magnetic structures. By measuring the difference in the scattering of right- and left-hand-polarized radiation, it is possible to obtain information about the material that cannot be obtained with traditional X-ray diffraction measurements. The three prize-winners used X-rays from synchrotron radiation sources to study the properties of extremely thin layers of magnetic materials, such as those used in the latest generation of disk drives for computers.
The prize, previously known as the Hewlett Packard prize, was renamed when Hewlett Packard set up Agilent as a subsidiary company to run its test and measurement business. It is given "in recognition of scientific excellence in basic or applied research in the physics of solids and liquids, with particular emphasis on recent work that leads to advances in the fields of electronic, electrical and materials engineering."