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Rare-Earth free Permanent Magnets

This research line intends to find permanent magnet alternatives to the controversial rare earth-based magnets. We work actively in collaboration with international research centers and companies in the search of improved and novel permanent magnet materials. Our research is based on three main pillars:

  1. Development of basic research and its translation to industry and end-users.
  2. Up-scalability of the procedures to avoid that achieved advances stop at the laboratory.
  3. Sustainability through recycling and efficient use of the resources.

Permanent magnets (PMs) are used in a multitude of energy-related technological applications (renewable energy, automotive and aerospatial industry, generators, home appliances…) and cannot be substituted without an increased cost and/or a detrimental performance of the devices. These PMs contain strategic raw materials [heavy and light rare-earths (REs)] as fundamental constituents.

The increased need (7% annual) of permanent magnets in combination with the strategically geographical situation of REs (especially heavy REs) make mandatory, first, an efficient and well focused use of these elements for specific purposes (high performing applications or micro-scalable devices) and, additionally, a reinforcement in the search of permanent magnets alternatives in applications areas where the use of REs may be reduced or totally avoided. Successful achievement of these alternatives will also result in an added important benefit by reducing significantly the environmental impact of the permanent magnets sector development.

Directly related to the topic, we have launched 2 patent applications in 2016-2017 and we have participated in one more. An industrial contract has been signed in 2017 with the multinational Höganäs AB.

we have participated in one more. An industrial contract has been signed in 2017 with the multinational Höganäs AB.


Figure 1. Coercivity development in nanocrystalline MnAl particles achieved by the innovative rapid-milling procedure (30-270 s) followed by reduced-temperature annealing (365ºC/10min). Published in J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 50, 105004 (2017).

  • Prof. Alberto Bollero Real

    PhD: Technical University of Dresden. Germany
    Previous Position: Spintec CEA, Grenoble (France)
    Research: Permanent Magnets and Applications
    ORCID: 0000-0002-3282-0981
    Joining Date: July, 2010
    User Name: alberto.bollero
    Telephone: +34 91 299 87 58
    Bollero Real

    Alberto Bollero got his B.Sc degree in Physics from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He was a PhD student at IFW-Dresden, working on nanocrystalline permanent magnets and got his PhD degree at Technical University of Dresden in 2003. He was Postdoc at University of Leipzig, studying magnetic and magnetotransport properties of thin films, and Marie Curie Fellow at SPINTEC (CEA-Grenoble) on exchange-bias systems for spintronics and sensing applications. Dr. Bollero was researcher at CIEMAT-Madrid working on flexible photovoltaic films and solar control coatings for architectural applications. He began his research activity at IMDEA Nanociencia in 2010 as Ramón y Cajal fellow and got the I3 Certification of scientific and technological excellence by MINECO in 2012.
In 2012 Dr. A. Bollero settled at IMDEA the laboratory of Permanent Magnets and since then he is Head of the Division of Permanent Magnets and Applications [http://www.nanoscience.imdea.org/division-permanent-magnets-applications].

    Research Lines

    • A. Bollero is Coordinator of the EU M-era.Net Project “NEXMAG” [www.nexmag.net], focused in the research of Mn-based permanent magnets alternatives to the controversial rare earth-based magnets. [Ref. MAT2014-56955-R]
    •  He is P.I. in the industrial project “GAMMA” together with the company Höganäs AB (Sweden), for development and implementation of novel permanent magnets solutions.
    • He is P.I. in the bilateral project “ENMA” between the Northeastern University Boston (Prof. Laura H. Lewis’ Group) and IMDEA Nanociencia, involving also the company IMA S.A. (Barcelona). [Ref. PCIN-2015-126]
    • He is also P.I. by IMDEA in the project “NANOFRONTMAG-CM” (coordinated by Prof. Rodolfo Miranda, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) [www.nanofrontmag-cm.es]. [Ref. S2013/MIT-2850]
    • A. Bollero has been Coordinator of the EU Project NANOPYME [www.nanopyme-project.eu], dealing with the search of new permanent magnets based on hybrid ferrites; P.I. in a Bilateral (Germany-Spain) Project [Ref. 57050243] focused in the development of functional exchange-coupled permanent magnets bilayers with sensing applications, P.I. in a National Project SIESPER [MAT2011-25598] dealing with the exchange-bias phenomenon in nanostructured films.

    These projects position A. Bollero as P.I. on research projects that total over 5.5 M€.

    Relevant publications

    •  High coercive isotropic MnAl powders produced by ultrafast milling of gas atomized particles, J. Rial et al., J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 50, 105004 (2017).
    • Recycling of Strontium ferrite waste in a permanent magnet manufacturing plant, A. Bollero et al., ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 5, 3243 (2017).
    • Tunable nanocrystalline CoFe2O4 isotropic powders obtained by co-precipitation and ultrafast ball milling for permanent magnet applications, F.J. Pedrosa et al., RSC Adv. 6, 87282 (2016).
    • Inter-grain effects on the magnetism of M-type strontium ferrite, E. Céspedes et al., J. of Alloys and Compounds 692, 280 (2017).