Better magnets from SmCo5 nanoparticles

Samarium-based nanomagnets (Download Image)

Transmission electron microscopy images of SmCo5 nanoparticles. Particles are monodisperse and of regular geometry.

A paper by Livermore researchers, in partnership with researchers at Brown University, has been designated a “hot paper” by the journal Angewandte Chemie. In this article, the authors describe a new technique to synthesize samarium-based nanomagnets and align them in a magnetic field to improve their performance. These show the highest saturation magnetization to date for SmCo5 nanoparticles, and the largest coercivity of any magnetic nanoparticle (coercivity is the resistance of a magnetic material to changes in magnetization). The technique is general, capable of producing other potentially magnetically hard and strong samarium-based composites. Synthesis of such materials is an essential first step towards development of ultra-strong magnets for broad renewable energy, magnetic, electronic, and medical applications.

[B. Shen, C. Yu, A.A. Baker, S.K. McCall, Y. Yu, D. Su, Z. Yin, H. Liu, J. Li, and S. Sun, Chemical Synthesis of Magnetically Hard and Strong Rare Earth Metal Based NanomagnetsAngew. Chem. Int. Ed. 58, 602–606 (2019), doi: 10.1002/anie.201812007.]