august 2012




Feature Article



Rare Earths & Corporate Social Responsibility

So what does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) have to do with rare earth materials? Simply put, producers and applicators of rare earths often tout the unique characteristics of rare earth-based materials that are instrumental to making advanced CleanTech solutions available to the next generation. For example, a direct drive permanent magnet generator for a top capacity wind turbine requires in the order of 2,000 kg of neodymium-based magnet material. Therefore, wouldn’t you think it appropriate that rare earth companies also bring such benefits to the market in an environmentally and socially responsible manner? <read more>


Research & Development


Unprecedented Subatomic Details of Exotic Ferroelectric Nanomaterials
As scientists learn to manipulate little-understood nanoscale materials, they are laying the foundation for a future of more compact, efficient, and innovative devices. Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and other collaborating institutions describe a technique revealing unprecedented details about the atomic structure and behavior of exotic ferroelectric materials, which are uniquely equipped to store digital information. This research could guide the scaling up of these exciting materials and usher in a new generation of advanced electronics. <read more>

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  Sponsored Announcement

Mag2013Magnetics 2013: Call for Presentations

Magnetics 2013, taking place February 7-8 in Orlando, Fla., is an international, industry-leading conference focused on the latest economic developments and technical advancements in magnetics markets and technologies bringing together worldwide magnetics experts.


MAGNETICS 2013 will have four tracks to address the magnetics market including Rare Earths, Ferrites/Soft Magnetics, Permanent Magnets, and Magnetics for Medical Applications. Each track is designed to cover the latest advancements in the applications, technology, materials and economic development.


Call for Presentations deadline is August 31st.


Contact Sue Hannebrink for sponsorship/exhibitor information.


  New Products

MEDER electronic Announces 3-D Magnetic Mapping Of Reed Sensors

Optimize components and eliminate issues that may result in faulty operations
mederMeder electronic Inc., a manufacturer of precise, reliable, and long-lasting miniature switches, sensors and relays, announces its 3-dimensional magnetic mapping capabilities for reed sensors. This process allows designers to more accurately place sensors and magnetic components within a system, thus eliminating any issues that may result in faulty operation.

MEDER electronic conducts 3-D magnetic mapping by incrementally measuring the reed sensor’s closure and opening points as it enters and exits the influence of a magnetic field. This information is then analyzed, allowing the user to visualize the magnetic field in three dimensions. Understanding the interacting magnetic fields allows designers to better position the magnet and sensor in the system for optimal operation. 3-D mapping also helps designers adjust the magnetic sensitivity of the reed sensor and/or the magnet’s size and strength.

The ability to know where the key operating points are is critical to sensor applications, because it allows designers to properly position the magnet and sensor well within appropriate guard bands and avoid tolerance issues. It is particularly useful in applications using more than one reed sensor or more than one magnet. For applications in which ferromagnetic material like iron, steel, nickel or cobalt are present in the area where sensing takes place, 3-D modeling becomes quite extensive and unpredictable, so magnetic mapping is the only way to know for sure where the boundaries are.

In addition to ensuring operations are well within the magnetic envelopes to avoid tolerance issues, 3D magnetic mapping helps designers optimize the sensor and magnet components, which can significantly reduce costs.

Lake Shore Cryotronics Introduces the Model 648 Electromagnet Power Supply
lakeshoreLake Shore Cryotronics, Inc. has introduced the Model 648 electromagnet power supply, a fault-tolerant 10 kW supply optimized for powering large 7-inch or 10-inch research electromagnets. The Model 648 is well suited for electromagnet characterization systems used for magneto-optical studies, magnetic hysteresis tests, susceptibility measurements, Hall Effect studies, spin magnetic resonance demonstrations and biological tests.

The Model 648 electromagnet power supply is designed to be used with large electromagnets in high precision laboratory settings that require low electrical noise. Its linear design removes the undesirable higher frequency noise typical of many other switch mode power supplies. The power supply’s low output noise means researchers can obtain greater resolution and finer detail in results drawn from data taken during high sensitivity experiments. Eliminating the need for external switching or operator intervention to reverse current polarity, the Model 648 uses convenient bipolar, 4-quadrant operation, which provides clean transitions through zero without discontinuities.

Made to last, and to minimize down time, Lake Shore’s built-in fault protection enables the system to survive direct shorts across the output without damage. Worry-free water cooling with zero internal connections eliminates the possibility of leaks and provides quiet, efficient operation compared to air-cooled supplies. A unique safety interlock ensures that the cooling water is flowing to the supply while operating.  Internal controls ensure efficient water management. The Model 648 also comes with Lake Shore’s full 3 year standard warranty.

The Model 648 was designed for application convenience. Its high resolution programmed output current incorporates a proprietary digital-to-analog converter that is monotonic over the entire output range and provides resolution of 1.0 mA. It is equipped with both parallel IEEE-488 and universal serial bus (USB) computer interfaces that provide access to operating data, stored parameters, and computer control of operating functions. The power supply’s easy-to-use and intuitive interface provides full diagnostic and status information.

GE Scientists Successfully Test World-Class Traction Motor for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
GEEngineers at GE Global Research are advancing motor technology that could have a substantial impact on hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) of the future.


GE recently tested a prototype Interior Permanent Magnet traction motor, developed as part of a $5.6 million US Dept. of Energy (DoE) project, that could help extend the range EVs and hybrids can travel before recharging or needing gasoline. Traction motors are the key part of the propulsion system that converts electrical energy into motion to drive hybrid and electric vehicles. Not only is the GE-designed motor less costly to make, lab testing revealed that it is more powerful and more efficient than what is on the market today. Combined, the additional power output and efficiency will help extend the range of EVs and delay the point at which hybrids switch to gasoline.


GE’s prototype traction motor operates at a peak power level of 55 kW and exceeds state-of-the-art motors in the same class in several key areas including nearly twice the power density (acceleration), 3 to 5 percent more efficient, required torque achieved using much lower DC bus voltage – as low as 200 volts versus 650 volts, and operates continuously at a higher temperature; no need for dedicated cooling loop. Widespread adoption of hybrid and EVs will benefit from advancements, like this, in motor technology.


“This is a significant accomplishment. We at GE are pushing the boundaries to build more robust, yet more efficient motors for hybrid and fully electric platforms,” said Ayman El-Refaie, electrical engineer, in GE Global Research’s Electrical Machines Lab. “We have built a motor that is substantially more powerful than what’s commercially available now, all while improving efficiency by up to 5 percent.”


Unlike conventional traction motors, which run at 65ºC and require their own dedicated cooling loop, GE’s motor operates continuously at 105ºC over a wide speed range (2,800 - 14,000 rpm at 30 kW) and can be cooled with engine coolant. Without the need for additional cooling lines, a hybrid will be lighter and cost less.


GE has built several prototypes of this new motor. It’s been fully tested in the lab and demonstrated for DoE, but further testing must be done for reliability before commercial production is considered.


“This technology is scalable and flexible enough that it can be leveraged in a number of capacities,” said El-Refaie. “What we learned through this project will help us build higher efficiency industrial motors, high-speed oil and gas compressor motors, and generators for aerospace applications.”


Another important accomplishment of this project was the development of high-resistivity (3X) permanent magnets. This high resistivity will significantly lessen magnet losses and reduce or eliminate the need to segment the magnets. This will help keep costs down even more.


A four-year project will follow-up on this work, as GE engineers set out to build a comparably performing motor with no rare-Earth magnets.

VACVAC Releases New Vacodur 49 Alloy
Vacuumschmelze GmbH & Co. KG (Hanau) has released a new alloy, Vacodur 49 has been developed for high-performance motors and generators. The new alloy features a high saturation level of 2.35 T, and complies with the international ASTM A801 Alloy Type 1 standard. The magnetic and mechanical properties of the alloy can be optimized for specific applications by adjusting the heat treatment appropriately.
The magnetic and mechanical properties of Vacodur 49 make it well suited for both stator and rotor assemblies. While its magnetic properties can be optimized for use in stator applications, yield points of up to 400 MPa can be achieved for rotor assemblies, outperforming the magnetic and mechanical properties of classic electrical steel.

The first use of the new material is in a permanent-magnet synchronous motor produced by AMK. In this design, the replacement of conventional electrical steel with Vacodur 49 has enabled the torque to be boosted to 51 Nm, an improvement of 40 percent.

AVX Develops New Lmax Series Inductors for Consumer and Industrial Power Applications
AVXAVX Corp. has expanded its line of thin film, multi-layer organic (MLO), and broadband wire-wound conical inductors to include a new series of shielded and non-shielded SMD power inductors. Designated the Lmax series, these inductors feature a wide inductance range, low DC resistance, and the high current values necessary for industrial applications. The RoHS-compliant inductor series is suited for a broad range of consumer and industrial power applications, including test and measurement and industrial process control. They are also specified for use in DC/DC converters, switching regulated power supplies, mobile phones, and computers, as well as other peripheral and telecommunications equipment.

“Developed in response to customer requests for inductors with an even broader current range, the Lmax series inductors significantly expand the types of applications into which customers can integrate our technology,” said Gregg Elliott, product manager at AVX.  “Our new Lmax series also provides design engineers with greater flexibility when designing both fixed and portable devices.”  

Lmax Series power inductors are currently in production, and samples are available by request.

  Industry News

Molycorp Reports Second Quarter 2012 Financial Results
Molycorp, Inc. has released the financial and operating results for the second quarter 2012.
“Molycorp continues to make significant progress on our three strategic priorities: completing Project Phoenix, commercializing XSORBX, and integrating Neo Materials (now known as Molycorp Canada) into Molycorp,” said Mark Smith, president and CEO.  “Our phased start-up of Project Phoenix Phase 1 is in full-swing, and we are on target to meet our accelerated schedule of achieving the Phase 1 production rate of 19,050 metric tons in Q4.” 
“We successfully completed the acquisition of Neo Materials during the quarter, and are now producing a full range of ultra-pure, highly engineered custom materials, including heavy rare earths.  Molycorp Magnequench had a record quarter in Q2 2012, selling 1,880 mt of alloy powders.  In the brief integration period to date, I continue to be impressed with the knowledge, work ethic, and passion which all of our employees bring to the Molycorp family.  I continue to believe the addition of Molycorp Canada better positions the Company through diversification into new geographies and sophisticated end-use markets.  Our vertical integration into a comprehensive provider of advanced materials has expanded significantly with the addition of Molycorp Canada.”
Net sales for the quarter were $104.6 million, up 5 percent from the second quarter 2011.  Molycorp Silmet and Molycorp Metals & Alloys (MMA) were acquired during the second quarter of 2011, and Molycorp Canada was acquired on June 11, 2012, which both contributed to net sales during Q2 2012.
Molycorp's second quarter GAAP gross loss was $4.1 million during the quarter, compared to gross profit of $56.7 million during the second quarter of 2011.  Gross profit decreased substantially from the prior year period as a result of lower product volumes shipped, lower prices, increased production costs, and other transaction costs related to acquiring Molycorp Canada. Gross loss during the quarter was negatively impacted by $30.4 million of expenses related to certain inventory write-downs, the impact of purchase accounting, stock-based compensation in cost of sales, and abnormal costs.
As of August 2, 2012, the Company is re-affirming its annual production of REO equivalent products to be in the range of 8,000 mt to 10,000 mt for the full year across its Mountain Pass, Sillamäe and Tolleson facilities, which does not include production from its newly acquired Molycorp Canada operations.  The Company continues to believe it is well positioned for year-over-year sales growth given the Mountain Pass ramp-up, existing customer orders, a growing pipeline of global business opportunities, and its acquisitions.
Capital expenditures for Project Phoenix Phase 1 and Phase 2, commissioning and start-up, and other capital projects at our Molycorp Mountain Pass facility are expected to be approximately $289 million on an accrual basis for the remainder of 2012.  All other capital expenditures across the Company (including Molycorp Canada) are expected to be approximately $17 million for the remainder of 2012.

Research and Markets: Permanent Magnet Brushless DC Motor Drives and Controls
Research and Markets announced the addition of John Wiley and Sons Ltd's new book "Permanent Magnet Brushless DC Motor Drives and Controls" to their offering.

In Permanent Magnet Brushless DC Motor Drives and Controls , Xia provides a thorough reference on the simulation and hardware implementation of brushless direct-current (BLDC) motor drives. Throughout the book, the author guides readers to a greater understanding the fundamental principles, modeling, design, and control of BLDC motor drives, while presenting advanced control methods of interest to more experienced readers. Given the advantages of the technology, permanent magnet BLDC motors are being used in an increasing number of applications, especially those requiring a high level of accuracy and performance. It is therefore a technology of rising importance for anybody working in motors and control.

This book is ideal for engineers and designers directly involved in the control of BLDC motor drives. Electrical engineering students, electrical technicians, and control engineers can also use this book as an introduction to key BLDC motor drive concepts.

Correlated Magnetics Research Wins Navy Phase II SBIR Grant for High-Performance Magnetic Couplings
Correlated Magnetics Research (CMR) has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to design and develop high-torque magnetic gears and couplings utilizing CMR’s Polymagnet technology. The two-year contract is valued at $747,995 and is a collaborative effort between the US Navy, CMR and MagnaDrive, Inc., of Woodinville, WA.

CMR will design and develop Polymagnet-enabled magnetic couplings to produce quiet, maintenance free, power-transfer linkages for Naval systems, DoD and industrial applications. The effort is a follow-on to ONR’s Phase I research project performed by CMR and directly addresses the Navy’s requirements for noise and maintenance reduction for on-board pumps, electric-drive machines and propulsion systems for naval vessels.  

Traditional mechanical couplings and gears require lubrication, generate heat, emit vibrations and sound, suffer from structural wear and require significant maintenance. Interlocking magnetic fields on the other hand, require no physical contact and thus no lubrication. They also supress vibration, eliminate structural wear and virtually eliminate maintenance requirements. CMR’s proprietary multi-pole magnetic structures overcome the shortcomings of current magnetic couplings: low torque transfer performance, strong tensile (non-torque producing) forces between the magnets and large, heavy rotating mass.

Referring to the potential for maintenance-free operation, ONR’s Dr. Scott Coombe said, “This alone is reason to pursue development of magnetic gearing for propulsion, power generation and actuation.”

The Phase II project includes magnetization research, creation of industrial-scale complex magnetization capability, prototype development and full-scale magnetic coupling development. CMR and MagnaDrive will commercialize the coupling technologies following completion of the effort.

Manhattan Scientifics Achieves Significant Milestones in Pursuit of its Early Cancer Detection and Treatment Technology
Manhattan Scientifics has achieved several critical milestones in the development of its proprietary technology for the early detection and treatment of cancer.

Manhattan Scientifics CEO Manny Tsoupanarias said, “Our team at Senior Scientific is making exceptional progress on a number of important fronts. The value of our patented technology is increasing with each new development. We are particularly excited about the progress of our cancer diagnostic machine, a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID). When fully developed, it may provide clinicians with actionable information that is not currently available without a biopsy or repeated exposure to radiation. Sensitivity is expected to be superior to any other advanced imaging modality including PET, CT, MRI, X-Ray or Mammogram. Ultimately we believe it is potentially disruptive enough to be able to carve out large segments of the market that are currently served by those technologies.”

Gerald Grafe, president of MHTX’s Senior Scientific subsidiary, described the company’s recent progress: “We are excited about our completed design for a new sensor system. The new system will give us the ability to detect down to a few hundred cells, 100 times more sensitive in detecting cancer cells than the present instrument which is already 1000 times more sensitive than a mammogram. This is extremely important in detecting cancer that has metastasized. It is anticipated that construction of the new machine will begin in the coming months. We continue to expand our patent estate, and now have three US patents four PCT and three U.S. utility applications pending, national phase applications pending in 10 other countries, and several more applications in process. We have agreements in place and have begun exchanging samples to start joint work with America’s No.1 Cancer research hospital center. Working with the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Laboratories, we can now produce nanoparticles with better performance in our system than those available commercially.”

Edward R. Flynn, Ph.D., Senior Scientific’s Chief Scientist and principal developer of the cancer detection technology explained how it works, “The technology relies on the use of known antibodies to find and bond with cancer cells in the body. Attached to the antibodies are very small particles of iron-oxide (nanoparticles) that have special characteristics, including being superparamagnetic. The chemically coated and bound antibodies are injected into a patient and float through the bloodstream. Where a specific cancer matching the antibody is present, the particles attach to and coat the outside of the cells. Where there is no cancer, the particles float free and random, thus enabling the physician to identify whether or not cancer exists, its location and quantity.”

Dr. Flynn continued, “The technology developed at Senior Scientific has now been used to increase the sensitivity and specificity for finding ovarian cancer at an early stage. Results of experiments on ovarian cancer cell has shown this technology can easily identify the different types of ovarian cells and is now being used to do research on new markers for ovarian disease. These very important results will lead to earlier identification of ovarian cancer as well as identification of new methods for determining it is ovarian cancer and not a benign cyst in the ovaries. These results will shortly be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed publication.”



Event Listings


Four events, one location!


Technical Events Co-Located in Denver, Colo. this September

Four leading conferences on advanced technologies for design and system engineers involved in cutting-edge product development and technical operations will be taking place in Denver, Colo. next month. Topics covered include electronic device design issues, wireless connectivity and communications technology, management of critical infrastructure equipment and facilities, network cyber security and thermal mitigation. The events will share a combined exhibit hall.


For $300 attendees can upgrade a full-conference pass and attend all four conferences. Attendees will have access to all presentations and conference proceedings.

Advancements in Thermal Management 2012, a symposium for engineers and product developers, will feature presentations on advancements for electronics packaging and cooling, temperature sensing and control, thermal materials, systems design and management for optimizing thermal properties.


Battery Power 2012 will feature presentations on portable, stationary and EV battery technology, as well as battery manufacturing and research & development. Topics will include new battery designs, power management, charging technology, as well as the latest market trends.


Mobile Antenna Systems 2012 brings the mobile antenna industry together to evaluate new market opportunities, implement new technologies and discover future applications and technical developments.


Remote Monitoring and Control 2012 will focus on advancements for the monitoring and management of distributed equipment and facilities, remote assets, infrastructure, automated process & system controls and device networks, including SCADA, remote networking technology, M2M and security.


ECCE2012ECCE 2012

Sept. 15-20, 2012

Raleigh, NC


Please join us for the 4th Annual IEEE Energy Conversion Congress & Exposition, being held September 15-20, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina. ECCE 2012 provides the premier venue for showcasing new technologies, concepts, and applications covering all aspects of energy conversion; and will offer industry participants the opportunity to connect with their customers, vendors, and with other users and researchers in the community. It also provides researchers an ideal venue for disseminating their research work and to determine the needs of the industry. Experience this unique event as two worlds collide - the energy conversion market with the business needs and its high level of engineering development for real applications and commercial products and services.  For more information, visit

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