A team of scientists has made a new discovery of natural magnetic materials, which in turn can lead to the development of nano-scale energy sources used to power next-generation electronic devices. Researchers from Japan's Okayama University and UC Riverside Bournes College of Engineering work together to study the rubber chiton, a type of mollusc that produces magnetic magnetite teeth, in the hope of better understanding their genetic process.
While magnetite is a mineral that more often comes from the earth's crust, the tire chiton is one of the rare animals that make it, using its teeth to scrape algae and, in turn, shatter the ocean scale. Teeth grow in rows, with new ones created to replace those worn with time.
Examining chiton genetics, scientists have found that RNA molecules in teeth are responsible for proteins that store and release iron and produce energy to convert raw materials into magnetite. This includes a new protein, a "radial matrix protein of the teeth" found in the tooth of the tooth that is believed to produce iron oxide.
The hope is that this discovery will lead to a better understanding of biological magnetite and its development, along with the use of its magnetic properties for electronics, such as nano-scale energy sources, as well as improved wear and tear of coatings and tools.