Researchers at the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) and Ames Laboratory are winners of an R&D 100 Award. Researchers invented a magnet recycling process in which magnets are dissolved in water-based solutions, recovering more than 99 percent purity rare earth elements.
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Layered transition metal dichalcogenides or TMDCs—materials composed of metal nanolayers sandwiched between two other layers of chalcogens— have become extremely attractive to the research community due to their ability to exfoliate into 2D single layers. Similar to graphene, they not only retain some of the unique properties of the bulk material, but also demonstrate direct-gap semiconducting behavior, excellent electrocatalytic activity and unique quantum phenomena such as charge density waves (CDW).
Using solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) techniques, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory discovered a new quantum criticality in a superconducting material, leading to a greater understanding of the link between magnetism and unconventional superconductivity.
Measuring the properties of superconducting materials in magnetic fields at close to absolute zero temperatures is difficult, but necessary to understand their quantum properties. How cold? Lower than 0.05 Kelvin (-272°C).
“For many modern (quantum) materials, to properly study the fine details of their quantum mechanical behavior you need to be cool. Cooler than was formerly thought possible,” said Ruslan Prozorov, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, who specializes in developing instrumentation which measures just such things.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry made his first visit to the Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory on Tuesday where he toured the facilities, met with Laboratory leadership and scientists, and thanked staff for their work in materials research.
“You come here each day, dedicated to changing the world through discovery, innovation, and technology commercialization,” Perry said, in a meeting with the leadership and staff of the Laboratory. “Your work makes a profound difference in people’s lives, even if it happens in ways we cannot see and ways we may never know.”