Rare earth metals are crucial components to many technologies. However, their extractions often requires the implementation of environmentally damaging procedures.
A team of researchers led by Professor Eric Schelter at the University of Pennsylvania has proposed that an alternative means of obtaining these precious materials is to recycle them, which can be achieved through a new separation technique that relies on magnetism.
“The biggest challenge was identifying a chemical system where we could directly compare the separations results in the absence and presence of a magnetic field,” said Eric Schelter. “Identifying such a system allowed us to identify the value that magnetic fields could bring to this type of work: doubling of separations efficiency in this case.”