Fractal Patterns Seen in Semiconductor Magnetism
Fractal patterns have been observed for the first time at the quantum scale, and the implications - and applications - may be huge.
Mathematicians and physicists have known for some time that the equations that govern the magnetic phase-transition of metals will produce fractal patterns when iterated in a computer. But until now, nobody had ever seen actual fractal patterns at the nanoscale before. Now, in a serendipitous discovery, “fractal puddles” have been observed in the magnetization of semiconductors, and the discovery may lay the foundation for the emerging area of “spintronic” devices.
Princeton University announcement
Science Magazine (original peer-reviewed paper, full article requires $)
Incidentally, an equation that describes magnetic phase transitions (an ising model) is shown below, and when iterated in the complex plane, this equation produces beautiful fractal patterns… which include little Mandelbrot Set replicas!