Category: News

MINT Leads International Effort to Develop Alternative Material for Green-Energy

A scientist who directs a University of Alabama research center will lead a collaborative, international effort to find an alternative source material necessary to sustain the growing electric-energy movement. Dr. Takao Suzuki, director of UA’s Center for Materials for Information Technology, or MINT, is leading an approximate $1.6 million effort by a consortium that includes 13 other UA researchers along with scientists in Germany, Japan and elsewhere in the United States.

MINT Center Awarded G8 Research Council Funding

The MINT Center has been funded for “The G8 Research Councils Initiative on Multilateral Research Theme: Material Efficiency – A first step towards sustainable manufacturing”.

The MINT Center will focus on “High Performance Permanent Magnets sustainable for Next Generation”. The program is for three years, starting from September 2012 through September 2015. The total amount for funding is 1,241,000 Euro. The consortium consists of the flowing PI and Partner PIs from three countries.

Leading PI Professor Takao Suzuki University of Alabama United States
Partner PI 1 Professor George Hadjipanayis University of Delaware United States
Partner PI 2 Professor Helmut Kronmüller Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research Germany
Partner PI 3 Professor Oliver Gutfleisch Technical University of Darmstadt Germany
Partner PI 4 Professor Kazuhiro Hono National Institute for Materials Science Japan
Partner PI 5 Dr.Kiyoyuki Masuzawa TDK Corporation Japan

Each PI will be funded by each national council.   The MINT will be funded by NSF for the total amount of $600,000.

The MINT team includes the following faculty members; A.Gupta, S.Gupta, Y.K.Hong, P.LeClair, G.Mankey, C.Mewes, T.Mewes, O.Mryasov, D.Nikles, R.Shade, G.Thompson , H.Turner and P.Visscher.


Project Summary:

The consortium is proposed to address the issues of scarce availability and high-cost materials in Permanent Magnets (PM) and to offer alternative solutions for these issues.

The current high performance PM heavily depend on Rare-Earth elements (RE).  More than 95% of current production capacity for RE required for PM is in China.  Availability of Chinese RE to other nations depends on continued stability in China’s internal politics and economy, and its relation to other countries.  Also, RE extraction processes lead to serious environmental problems.  Those issues create risks for global markets and cause geopolitical dynamics with potential to affect the strategic interests of numerous nations.

The consortium aims to develop RE-free PM.  The materials of choice are Mn-bsed alloy systems such as Mn-Al, Mn-Bi and Mn-Al-Bi.  The goal is to achieve an energy product (= the energy to be stored in the PM) comparable to that NdFeB PM.  Emphasis focuses on thin films and nano-particles of PM with (BH)max of about 25 MGOe as the first step.  Such PM have the potential to make possible new applications such as magnetic MEMS and biomedical sensors.  The second step will focus on the development of PM with beyond 25MGOe.  The advantages of using Mn alloys are that their magnetic properties exhibit high magnetic anisotrophy and high coercivity, key for strong PM, and that these elements are abundant in the earth, thus providing the opportunity to establish a cost-effective and sustainable manufacturing process.

The consortium consists of six organizations from three countries.  All the partner members have had rich experience on PM including the proposed Mn alloy systems.  The consortium will work on RE free PM from fundamental materials issues, processing and manufacturing, and cost-effectiveness points of view.  Also, emphasis will be placed on training students and post-doctoral fellows.

The management of the consortium will be handled by the Center for Materials for Information Technology at the University of Alabama, USA.

Open Campus Event: Northridge High School

Northridge High School students’ campus visit

Y. Bao (Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering), M. Bakker (Chemistry), P. LeClair (Physics & Astronomy), C.K.A. Mewes (Physics & Astronomy), T. Mewes (Physics & Astronomy), J. Lumzy (High School Program Coordinator)

Thursday, April 26, 2012


One hundred twenty students from Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa came to the campus of the University of Alabama on Thursday April 26th 2012.  As one part of their visit to the University of Alabama the students attended presentations given by MINT faculty members Patrick LeClair and Martin Bakker. The students also visited the MINT center and attended an introduction to the type of research done at the MINT center.

Through the MINT Open Campus Events the MINT center strives to strengthen its ties with the community, the schools, and most importantly the students of the Tuscaloosa area.

Open Campus Event: Central High School

Building stronger ties in Learning Science

M. Baker (Chemistry), J. Lumzy (High School Program Coordinator)
Thursday, February 2, 2012

Twenty-five Central High School students in an advanced science class participated in some awesome experiments on Thursday, February 2, 2012, in Shelby Hall.  Judy Lumzy, Coordinator for High School Programs, and Dr. Martin Bakker, Associate Professor of Chemistry coordinated the event.  The primary focus of this initiative was to get high school students engaged, excited, and empowered while experiencing the wonderful world of science in a university atmosphere.

Through various service projects supported by the MINT center we hope to strengthen our ties in community, the school, and most importantly with the students.


MINT professors receive Research Stimulation Award

Professor Yuping Bao (ChBE), Professor Heath Turner (ChBE), Professor Arun Gupta (CH and ChBE), Susan Burkett (ECE), Sushma Kotru (ECE),  Professor Mark Weaver (MTE) received the Research Stimulation Program Award for 2012.

Arun Gupta elected AAAS Fellow

Professor  Arun Gupta ( Chemistry and Chemical Biological Engineering)  has been recently elected a Fellow of  The American Association for the Advancement of Science. “Triple A-S” (AAAS), is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association.  AAAS was founded in1848.  Dr. Gupta is being honored for “originating, developing, and executing a wide range of research projects involving materials growth, characterization, processing, and devices applications of thin films”.

Dr. Patrick Leclair wins UA’s highest teaching award.

The University of Alabama National Alumni Association has announced the 2011 recipients of the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching – the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award. Among this years winners was Dr. Patrick LeClair of the Dept. of Physics and the MINT Center.

Dr. Patrick R. LeClair joined the UA department of physics and astronomy in 2005, following a three-year postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At UA, he primarily teaches introductory and mid-level physics courses and maintains an active research group in magnetic and electronic materials.

Since 2008, LeClair has been the undergraduate director for physics and astronomy. His main achievements have been implementing personal, face-to-face advising for every major student every semester and championing the physics-electrical and computer engineering double major, which has been largely responsible for increasing majors nearly threefold in the last four years.

LeClair has been actively committed to revising the undergraduate physics curriculum. With the help of a teaching grant from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2006-2007, he developed and implemented a computerized laboratory system for introductory electricity and magnetism labs which has been in use ever since. In 2009-2010, he redesigned the sophomore “Modern Physics” laboratory with entirely new equipment and a custom laboratory manual. In fall 2009, he and Dr. Ray White developed a freshman seminar course to introduce potential physics and astronomy majors to the latest developments in the field.

At UA, LeClair has also been a pioneer in the use of social media, finding that students will be engaged by interacting with the tools they enjoy and feel comfortable with. Nearly every aspect of his courses can be monitored online with notes, tutorials and multiple venues for student interaction

LeClair’s research primarily focuses on electrical and magnetic properties of novel materials and devices, and he maintains an active research laboratory in UA’s MINT Center. He is the principal investigator on three National Science Foundation grants and one Department of Energy grant. He received his bachelor’s degree in materials science from MIT and his doctorate cum laude in physics from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

MINT Aid Program for Tohoku University

MINT Aid Program for Tohoku University – Application

On behalf of the Centre for Materials for Information Technology (MINT) at the University of Alabama, U.S.A., I wish to convey my deepest sympathies to you all who have suffered from the earthquake and tsunami disasters that took place in northern Japan on March 11, 2011.  This must be an extremely difficult time for you all, and I hope and pray each day that you will recover from these disasters as quickly as possible.

The MINT Center here at the University of Alabama has had very close collaborations over the years with many of the faculty members at Tohoku University, particularly in the areas of magnetism, magnetic materials, and spintronics.  We at the MINT Center realize the severity of the situation there in Sendai, and we have established the MINT Aid Program for Tohoku University (MAPTU).  Through this program we wish to invite some of Tohoku University’s junior faculty members to come to the University of Alabama to work alongside our own faculty members here at MINT (Please see the attachment.).  The MAPTU program will cover travel and accommodation expenses for participating Tohoku University faculty members for a period of up to four months.  I will be very appreciative if you will circulate this letter to appropriate departments.

On a personal matter, I spent many years as a faculty member of Tohoku University in Sendai.  Many of my long-time colleagues and close friends are there, and my heart is heavy.  The path to recovery for Sendai and for all of Japan will not be easy, but we will continue to hope and pray diligently for all of you who have been affected.

As the Director of the MINT Center, I want you to know that we are here to assist you by all measures.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you every day.

Praying for the best, and sincerely yours,

Takao Suzuki

MINT Director and professor

University of Alabama