Thanks Uqiq for sending in links to this interesting article :)
Russian scientists say they may have created the next big thing in computer memory: flexible, transparent sheets of carbon, the first pure nonmetallic magnets to work at room temperature. The material could lead to cheap, durable, extremely high-density storage.
Physicist Tatiana Makarova says she created the stuff in a fortuitous accident while trying to produce new high-temperature superconductors. She was experimenting with buckyballs--exotic, soccer-ball-shaped spheres of carbon atoms--trying to force them to join together in a sheet by superheating and pressurizing them. The resulting material didn't superconduct but was magnetic at room temperature, and up to 200 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature anyone had ever gotten a nonmetallic magnet to work before was at a frigid-255 Celsius.
Room-temperature organic magnets are much lighter and more flexible than metallic magnets, making them ideal for use in electronic devices. They also have semiconducting and insulating properties, making them potentially useful in chipbuilding. What's more, Makarova and her team from the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St. Petersburg have found that the material is photo-responsive, changing its magnetic properties when a light is shined on it. That could make it useful as an optical storage device.