Magnetocaloric Materials

Context

  • Recently Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D centre of the Department of Science and Technology, have developed a rare-earth-based magnetocaloric material that can be effectively used for cancer treatment.

About the Materials

  • The magnetocaloric materials are certain materials in which application and removal of a magnetic field causes the materials to become warmer or cooler respectively.
  • The team at ARCI chose rare-earth-based alloy for studies as some of the rare earth materials are human body compatible.
  • They optimized the alloy composition so that the Curie temperature came close to the therapeutic range (42-460 C) required for destroying cancer cells.
  • This method, when used in conjunction with radiation therapy, according to a statement would reduce the side effects, damage caused to the human body and also reduce the treatment time of cancer tumours.
  • The advantage of magnetocaloric materials which heat up or cool down with the application and removal of the magnetic field, respectively is that as soon as the magnetic field is removed, cooling effect is generated, unlike in magnetic nanoparticles where overheating persists, even after removal of the magnetic field.