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26 October 2022

Professor Lindsay Greer's research team have discovered a potential new method for making the high-performance magnets used in wind turbines and electric cars without the need for rare earth elements, which are almost exclusively sourced in China.  His team, working with colleagues from Austria, found a new way to make a possible replacement for rare-earth magnets: tetrataenite, a ‘cosmic magnet’ that takes millions of years to develop naturally in meteorites.

Previous attempts to make tetrataenite in the laboratory have relied on impractical, extreme methods. But the addition of a common element – phosphorus – could mean that it’s possible to make tetrataenite artificially and at scale, without any specialised treatment or expensive techniques.  The results are reported in the journal Advanced Science. A patent application on the technology has been filed by Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation arm, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

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