Chris Leighton’s pyrite research featured in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

Dec. 18, 2020 - Distinguished McKnight University Professor Chris Leighton’s research advancements involving iron pyrite (fool’s gold) are featured in the December 2020 print issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. The article, “The Iron Giant” written by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl lauds iron pyrite as a possible “compound of the future,” comparing it to silicon, the ubiquitous element that dominates current technologies in computers, smartphones, solar cells, and so much more.

Leighton’s recent discovery of electrically-induced magnetism in pyrite could create “a full-on materials science revolution,” according to the article’s author. In the article, Leighton points out that pyrite absorbs sunlight about 1,000 times better than silicon, is 100 times cheaper than competitor materials currently used in solar panels, and that the elements needed to manufacture fool’s gold are iron and sulfur, which are highly abundant.

This research, which now spans solar cells and spintronics, involves the Leighton Group in collaboration with the groups of Jeff Walter (Augsburg University), Turan Birol (CEMS), Rafael Fernandes (Physics), Laura Gagliardi (University of Chicago), and Eray Aydil (New York University).

The article can be found in the print issue of the magazine (only), so pick up a copy to read more about this exciting news!

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