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Iowa laboratory researches rare earth metals

The Chicago Tribune picked up a story originally written by Ames Tribune writer Laura Millsaps on the pending shortage of rare-earth materials, China's monopoly on them and work being done at the Ames Laboratory to develop new rare earth metal processes and alternatives. The article also appeared in the San Francisco Examiner (

Making Stuff


Ames Laboratory is taking its show on the road, so to speak, from December 2010 through April 2011 as a coalition partner in the prestigious “Making Stuff†program.

The race for rare earth metals

Ames Tribune reporter Laura Millsaps writes about the current shortage of raw rare earth materials and some of the research taking place at the Ames Laboratory to address the problem. Millsaps spoke with Ames Lab Director Alex King and senior metallurgist Iver Anderson and quotes both in the article.

Strength Without Compromise

ImageScientists have discovered a way to make strong materials that are also ductile. One of life’s classic problems is that whenever a metal or alloy is altered to make it stronger, it loses its ability to deform – it becomes brittle, so its eventual failure is both unheralded and catastrophic. Nanostructured materials have shown great improvements in strength over their conventional counterparts, but until now, they have also typically been more brittle.

Physicists cross hurdle in quantum manipulation of matter

A collaboration of experimentalists from the Kavli Institute of Nanosciences at Delft University of Technology and theorists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory made a breakthrough in the area of controlling single quantum spins. The results were published in Science Express on Sept. 9.

The researchers developed and implemented a special kind of quantum control over a single quantum magnetic moment (spin) of an atomic-sized impurity in diamond. These impurities, called nitrogen-vacancy (or N-V) centers, have attracted much attention due to their unusual magnetic and optical properties. But their fragile quantum states are easily destroyed by even miniscule interactions with the outside world.


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