Making multiferroic materials is no easy task, especially ones that can be used at room temperature. A team of researchers at the University of Montpellier, the University of Aveiro and the University of Coimbra has now demonstrated magnetoelectric coupling in a paramagnetic ferroelectric crystal. Their work, published in Science, describes the ytterbium-based molecular magnetoelectric material they discovered and its possible applications. A Perspectives article explaining the work appears in the same journal issue.
Comets can change colours too, according to an analysis of Rosetta data that observed, during two years, the chameleon comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s nucleus becoming progressively less red as it passed closer to the Sun, and then red again as it returned to deep space. Unlike a chameleon though, the colour changes on 67P/C-G reflect the amount of water ice that is exposed on the surface and in the surroundings of the comet.
Finally, analysis of data from remote sensing technology has revealed that tropical forests worldwide have struggled to recover after the 2015 to 2016 El Niño event, which dried out soil. The findings, from an international team including researchers at INRA, prove that this technique can effectively monitor the impact of climate-driven weather surges on the balance of carbon in Earth’s tropical forests. These are only likely to become increasingly vulnerable as climate change intensifies large droughts and El Niño events in the future.