SBIR Phase I: Advanced Materials - Nanolaminate Permanent Magnets through Excimer Laser Surface Modification

Period of Performance: 01/01/2007 - 12/31/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Photon Energy Technology
2510 Ridgetop Road
Ames, IA 50014
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop nanolaminate Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets that will increase their operating temperatures, potentially expanding their applications in automobiles and others. An advanced yet affordable excimer laser surface modification method involving deposition and annealing will be employed to achieve the nanoscale layers of higher coercivity materials. The advanced material innovation is that the energy of domain wall in the nanoscale surface layers will be so high that the loss in energy product of Nd-Fe-B at high-temperatures will be compensated for by the increased coercivity of nanolayers, resulting in the desired high-temperature magnetic performance. The product of Phase I research would be a prototype Nd-Fe-B permanent magnet with a compositionally-different nanolayered surface that in turn provides improved high-temperature performance and lower cost (about 30% less) than the competitive, expensive SmCo5. The annual market size for Nd-Fe-B magnets is about $2 billion and the proposed product, if successful, has potential to capture a sizable portion of this market. The nanolaminate magnet can revolutionize the design of permanent magnets by increasing the temperature range, reducing the size and weight and increasing energy efficiency of motors, generators, actuators, alternators, and alike. The societal benefits include energy savings, economics and environment. The educational benefit will be providing research experiences for undergraduate engineering students from Iowa State University.