Motion System Design

Maverick method makes magnets

Ultra-strong, high-temperature, high-performance permanent magnet compounds, such as Samarium Cobalt, are mainstay materials for industries that rely on high-performance motor and power generation applications, including the defense and automotive sectors. Until now, producing Samarium Cobalt has been a difficult and expensive process. Researchers at Northeastern University, Boston, have broken new ground with the invention of a one-step method for producing pure Samarium Cobalt rare earth permanent magnet materials.

Created at Northeastern's Center for Microwave Magnetic Materials and Integrated Circuits, the direct chemical synthesis process can produce Samarium Cobalt rapidly and in large amounts, at a fraction of the current cost. The process is also environmentally friendly, with 100% recyclable chemicals, and is readily scalable to large volume synthesis. The study describing the invention is published in the July 28 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

Unlike traditional multi-step metallurgical techniques that provide limited control of the size and shape of magnetic particles, the one-step method produces air-stable “nanoblades” (elongated nanoparticles shaped like blades) that allow more efficient assembly that may result in smaller and lighter high-performance magnets.

The invention is anticipated to revitalize the permanent magnet industry and bring major changes to several federal and commercial industries, say researchers. It has the potential to impact size, weight, and performance of aircraft, ships, and land-based vehicles, as well as contribute to more efficient computer technologies and emerging biomedical applications. For more information, visit

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