Bugs make magnetic crystals

Optical picture of a bug with a chain of magnetic crystals inside
Bugs, which make magnetic crystals for the purpose of orientation in the Earth magnetic fields, have been discovered.
Ruslan Prozorov from Ames Lab says this: There are bacteria called magnetotactic bacteria that produce perfect magnetite nanocrystals. We now know how to extract these and also how to produce them in vitro. The sizes range from >2 nm for synthetic and >30 nm for biological magnetite. There are several interesting aspects here. First is to study the Verwey transition in individual nanocrystal using something like Alexey's templating method. Second, you could use them as a little magnet for various experiments related to spin manipulation and where you need local fields (say a particle in a squid loop). More information see here: and

Related Links:
  • Page under construction about magnetic bugs
  • An optical mask is aligned over the substrate and the sample is exposed to UV light. The mask is designed to isolate a single nanotube and simultaneously create an electrode pattern for later measurements.
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