Humboldt Research Award for Michael Coey, Trinity College, Dublin

April 19, 2013

Renowned materials scientist comes to Germany at the invitation of researchers at the MPI Chemical Physics for Solids, Dresden and the IFW Dresden. Focus lies on joint research for new rare-earth free permanent magnets.

Dr. Michael Coey Fellow and Professor of Trinity College Dublin is the recipient of a research prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The prize is worth € 60,000 and will facilitate a more extensive cooperation between the internationally renowned materials scientist and his German hosts, the Dresden (Mainz) Materials Scientists, Professor Dr. Claudia Felser and Professor Dr. Ludwig Schultz. The Humboldt Award winner Michael Coey plans to come to Germany for an extended research stay next year.

Dresden is one of the international leading centers of magnetism based on a strong network between the activities at the Max Planck Institutes Chemical Physics for Solids, Physics of Complex Systems, the IFW (Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden) and the Excellence University TU Dresden. Therefore, it is not surprising that the largest and most important international conference on applied magnetism, INTERMAG, will be held in Dresden in 2014. With the Humboldt Award for Michael Coey, the world-wide visibility of Dresden as the European Center of Magnetism will be further strengthened.

The Dresden team plans to work together with the Humboldt Award winner on rare-earth free permanent magnets, a hot topic in materials research worldwide with a high potential impact on society. The high-performance magnets currently used in electric motors, generators, actuators and speakers, including those in hard-disc drives of servers and personal computers contain at least one rare earth element such as Neodymium or Samarium. Most of the rare earth mines are in China and supplies of rare earth elements have become increasingly expensive and erratic. Alternatives which do not contain rare earth elements are needed by industry, especially for electric transport, for reasons of price and sustainability. The knowledge of materials especially Heusler compounds (Felser) and magnetism (Schultz) in Dresden and the experience in Dublin, will be an exceptional combination to reach this challenging goal, to realize cheap and efficient new permanent magnets.

Michael Coey has been professor of physics at Trinity College Dublin for 25 years, where he occupied the Chair which dates from 1724. He is a distinguished European specialist in magnetic materials; internationally he is a leader in the field of magnetism. Besides being an excellent teacher (he already gave a lecture series in Dresden in February) he also founded a company, Magnetic Solutions in 1994, was cofounder of CRANN, Ireland's nanoscience research institute

in 2002, and conceived Dublin's unique Science Gallery in 2006. He has published 700 scientific articles on diverse aspects of magnetism, many of which have significant impact on the scientific community. His recent textbook “Magnetism and Magnetic Materials” became popular after a short time, meeting the need for a general and understandable book about modern magnetism. The Chinese translation will come out next year. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy (1987), a fellow of the Royal Society (2003) and a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences (2005). He is also a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the American Mineralogical Society and the American Physical Society. Michael Coey's numerous awards include a Fulbright Fellowship, the Charles Cree Medal of the Institute of Physics, the Gold Medal of the Royal Irish Academy and the RDS INTEL Prize Lecture on Nanoscience. He has an honorary doctorate from the Institut National Polytechnique Grenoble and was an Albert Einstein Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2010. He delivered an important public lecture on the History of Magnetism in Paris in the same year. Michael Coey pioneered cooperation between academic and industrial laboratories in the ground-breaking Concerted European Action on Magnets (1985-95). He strongly identifies himself with the European spirit and tradition.

Professor Dr. Claudia Felser is director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden and honorary Professor at the TU Dresden and at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. She heads a team of 50 scientists and PhD students, the "Materials for Optical, Magnetic, and Energy Technologies (MOMENT)" division at the MPI CPfS, Dresden and the Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry at the Johannes Gutenberg University. For many years, she has been concentrating on the development of pioneering materials with unique properties and enjoys an outstanding international reputation as an expert in Heusler compounds. The research philosophy of the MOMENT team starts with the design of new materials on the computer, promising materials will be synthesized and investigated, a very resource efficient way to explore new materials. A large subgroup of Heusler compounds are magnetic, some of them exhibit coercive fields larger than rareearth containing permanent magnets.

Since1993, Professor Dr. Ludwig Schultz has been the Director of the Institute for Metallic Materials of the Leibniz-Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden and holds the Chair for Metallic Materials and Metal Physics in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering as well as in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Technische Universitaet Dresden. For many years he was the Scientific Director of the IFW Dresden. His main activities concern permanent and soft magnets, magnetoresistive materials, magnetic thin films, superconducting materials, superconducting levitation systems and amorphous and nanocrystalline metals. He authored or coauthored more than 1000 publications with more than 22.000 citations, filed more than 70 patents, supervised 118 Ph.D. theses and founded two companies: evico and evico magnetics. In his former position at Siemens Central Research, as well as in Dresden he shared various activities and projects with Michael Coey.

"We are sure that we all together can design new permanent hard magnets, filling the gap between cheap and less efficient ferrites and the expensive and very efficient NdFeB and SmCo magnets," stated Felser and Schultz when informed that their joint nomination submitted to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation had been successful. Besides the institutions in Dresden Michael Coey also plans to collaborate with Siemens Erlangen, the University of Konstanz and the University Bielefeld in the course of his Humboldt Award.

The Humboldt Research Award is bestowed upon non-German scientists in recognition of the work that they have already achieved. Since it is not possible to apply for the prize, the potential contenders are nominated by German scientists. The Humboldt Foundation bestows a maximum of 100 Humboldt Research Awards per year.

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