Researchers Expand Research on Simplifying Recycling of Rare-earth Metals

In a previous study, researchers pioneered a process that could enable the efficient recycling of two rare-earth metals, neodymium and dysprosium, which are found in the small, powerful magnets in many high-tech devices.

Now, in a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers extend the method to the entire series of rare-earth metals. In the paper, the researchers establish a pattern, showing that it’s not just selective for one or two rare earths, it can be extended to the entire series.

The paper focused on one pairing in particular, europium and yttrium, which could enable scientists to recycle rare-earth metals from compact fluorescent light bulbs.

​​​​​​​The research was led by Eric Schelter, associate professor of chemistry, and graduate students Justin Bogart and Zeke Cole. Connor Lippincott, an undergraduate student in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research, and Patrick Carroll, director of the X-Ray Crystallography Facility, also contributed to the study.

The incentive to develop an efficient method to recycle rare-earth metals is huge because mining and purifying them is not only expensive and labor-intensive, but takes a devastating toll on the environment.

“Everybody’s heard of blood diamonds,” says Schelter, “but maybe people haven’t heard of blood cobalt or tantalum or lithium for that matter.”

Click here to read the full story.

Arts & Sciences News

LPS to Launch New Bachelor’s Degree and Online Certificate Programs

New online bachelor’s degree and certificate programs at Penn Arts and Sciences’ College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) are giving adult students flexible options to pursue a college education and advance their professional skills.

View Article >
Lauren Sallan Honored by Alma Mater University of Chicago for Achievements in Paleobiology

With an impressive complement of achievements and contributions to her field,

View Article >
Psychology’s Thompson-Schill and Kahana Honored

Two Penn Arts and Sciences faculty members were recently honored with the Psychonomic Society Mid-Career Award, given for exceptional contributions to the field of experimental and cognitive psychology.

View Article >
John Lapinski to be named the Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor of Political Science

John Lapinski will be named the Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor of Political Science and the director of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program effective July 1, 2018.

View Article >
Recipients of the 2018 Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students Announced

Eight graduate students from Penn Arts and Sciences to receive the prestigious award.

View Article >
Joseph S. Francisco Named President’s Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science

Joseph S. Francisco will join Penn as the President’s Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Chemistry, on July 1, 2018.

View Article >