Is magnetism the cure for a too-hot handheld?

Have you ever noticed how hot a laptop or cell phone can get after hours of use? This is one of the biggest problems with modern-day electronics, according to Dr. Trinanjan Datta, associate professor of physics in the Augusta University College of Science & Mathematics.

When electronic devices overheat, it can cause an increase in the electric bill. This is the focus of Datta’s newest research project. He is searching for a way to mitigate heating problems and make electronic devices work in a more efficient way.

In order to do this, Datta is researching the fundamental material properties of magnetic systems.

“I use theoretical and computational modeling to figure out how X-rays interact with magnets, and this interaction is what I try to explain from a fundamental perspective,” Datta said.

Datta partnered with Dr. Dao-Xin Yao, professor in the school of physics at Sun Yat-sen University in China, on this project.

“We’ve been collaborating since 2011, because my expertise is in magnetism, and he also works in the same area,” Datta said. “I’ve been providing his research group with my expertise in magnetism calculations. I have several graduate students in China and undergraduate students at Augusta University. We work in close collaboration to do these calculations.”

Datta and Yao were recently awarded a research grant from the State Key Laboratory of Optoelectronics Materials at Sun-Yat Sen University for their project. The $27,000 grant is part of an initiative to support foreign collaborators with their research efforts.

This grant will fund Datta and Yao’s efforts to create energy efficient photo electronic devices. The pair expects their research project will predict novel magnetic materials which can lead to energy efficient solar cells.

“We hope this research will provide the fundamental knowledge for predicting novel and new materials that are crucial to the fabrication of the next generation of functional materials for computer storage, telecommunications technology, and optoelectronic devices,” Datta said.

This project will also provide Datta’s undergraduate and graduate students with invaluable experience. In fact, Datta and Yao, together with their students, have published six papers on magnetism since 2012.

“The collaboration exposes students in the university to international collaboration between two nations who are striving for the best,” Datta said. “For undergraduates, it gives them the opportunity to see how graduate students at a top global research university function and how they perform.”

Datta is looking forward to this collaboration with Yao, as well as future projects.

“We’ll probably collaborate until both of us retire,” Datta said. “At least, that’s what the plan is right now.”

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Written by
Brennan Meagher

Brennan Meagher is a communications coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her at 706-446-4806 or

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Written by Brennan Meagher

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