b'Canberra observed have thought it would have been betterhave a more immediate impact. That givesto help cushion the blow to the economy to put more cash into peoples pocket. Ifthe government breathing space to investfrom the coronavirus. This addresses the this targeted the lower socio-economicin infra structure projects that have beenmain concerns in the article above.The groups it would be spent in Australia byproperly assessed, a bit later on. government has so far pledged a total those who need it the most, and wouldLets all hope COVID-19 wanes veryof $320 billion Australian dollars in fiscal be a better way to keep businesses viable. quickly and we can get back to a moresupport as the coronavirus pandemic normal lifestyle. infects not only people but the economy. The Prime Minister stated that $3 in everyTo put this number into perspective $4 dollars of stimulus would go to business.Since this article was written thethe GDP for Australia in 2019 was If three quarters of the package wentAustralian government has provided anapproximately A$1785 billion (https://directly into peoples pockets that wouldemergency $130 billion stimulus packagetreasury.gov.au/coronavirus).Henderson byte: MultiferroicsIf you havent heard of multiferroics you might be forgiven. The term has only appeared in papers since 2003, and relates to a special condition of materials that have unique properties. A strict definition is that materials are multiferroic if they exhibit more than one of three primary ferroic properties. The three are ferromagnetism, ferroelectricity and ferroelasticity. What are they? Well ferromagnetism may, at least, be familiar. A material is ferromagnetic when it is magnetised by an external magnetic field. This happens when the magnetic domains become aligned in the direction of the field. Iron ore is a common ferromagnetic material. Similarly, for ferroelectricity, an electric field may be produced in a material when the individual electric dipoles are aligned by an external electric field. This is also termed electric polarisation. A material is ferroelastic when a phase change occurs from one phase to an equally stable phase by the application of stress. One change may be from cubic crystal structure to tetragonal. Nickel titanium (Nitinol) is a ferroelastic alloy. Materials with the first two properties are also called magnetoelectric multiferroics.Until recently it was thought nigh impossible that any two of these properties could exist in the one material. For instance, it could mean a material having a magnetic field and an electric field at the same time. Because of the requirements for electrons to be free to move in one case, and to be fixed in another, the properties are almost mutual exclusive. Despite this, the search for such materials began, it is said, by the pioneering enthusiasm of one person, Nicola Spaldin (formerly Hill). Nicola developed an interest in multiferroics in 1996, during her postdoctoral research, and in 2000 published a seminal paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, the first of many that generated an avalanche of interest in multiferroics. The growth in the number of papers on multiferroics was exponential from 2000 to 2008, with over 700 published in 2008. Incidentally, Nicola went on to receive many accolades including Fellow of the Royal Society in 2017, and one of the laureates of the 2017 LOral-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science. Since 2010 she has been Professor of Materials Theory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich.One compound found to be multiferroic in 2003 was bismuth ferrite, first studied at UC Berkeley, by Ramamoorthy Ramesh, who was inspired by Spaldin and became her collaborator. The structure of the bismuth atoms provides the ferroelectricity, and the electrons in the iron ions supply the magnetics.Interest in multiferroics, apart from their unusual physical properties, is in their other applications, such as high-sensitivity sensors and new types of electronic memory devices. For example, while magnets are normally used to change binary 0s and 1s in computers, one electric multiferroic can make the changes using an electric field - which uses much less energy than a magnetic field.More and more uses have since been found for this new class of materials. Some have a structure that makes for exceptionally efficient solar cells, and some are used as nanobots in the blood stream. These nanobots can be guided to specific locations by external magnetic fields and then cancer cells, say, are treated by their electric properties. The full potential for multiferroics is yet to be realised.Further information on multiferroics is available from Wikipedia and New Scientist, 30 November 2019, pp. 43-46.Roger Hendersonrogah@tpg.com.auAPRIL 2020 PREVIEW 30'