Office for Technology Commercialization

Iron Nitride Permanent Magnet, Alternative to Rare Earth and Neodymium Magnets

Technology #20120016

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Sample Structure of Iron NitrideIron Nitride StructurePermanent Magnets Can Be Created Using Nitrogen and Iron
Jian-Ping Wang, PhD
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
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Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending 20140299810

Rare Earth Permanent Magnets

Rare earth magnets are the strongest type of permanent magnets made and are integral to the high tech industry, particularly in clean energies, such as electric vehicle motors and wind turbine generators. China extracts and produces about 95% of the world's rare earth minerals and since 2010 has cut its exports. In addition to supply chain concerns, the extraction process is highly polluting to the environment.

Note: This technology for producing iron nitride permanent magnets has been exclusively licensed. If you have questions, please contact the University of Minnesota's Office for Technology Commercialization.

Iron Nitride Permanent Magnet Stronger than Neodymium Magnet

A process has been designed to create a very strong permanent magnet that does not require any rare earth inputs, such as neodymium. The theoretical magnetic energy product for this iron nitride (Fe16N2) magnet is 130 mega gauss oersteds, which is more than twice the maximum reported magnet energy product for a rare-earth neodymium magnet.

Iron Nitride can be Mass Produced from Iron and Nitrogen

Previous work in iron nitride production produced only powders or thin films that were not suitable for most applications, but for the first time iron nitride can be generated in bulk form for a wide array of applications. The fabrication process is compatible with existing mass-production techniques and the iron and nitrogen inputs are low cost, enabling very cheap permanent magnets that exceed the performance of rare earth magnets.


  • Does not require any rare earth inputs; uses common and low cost iron and nitrogen inputs
  • Theoretical limit of its magnetic properties are more than twice the maximum reported magnetic energy product for a rare earth magnet
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Compatible with mass production techniques
  • Many high tech applications including electric motors, wind turbines and electronics

Phase of Development Laboratory scale demonstration of iron nitride thin film manufacture.

Other technologies related to magnets by Jian-Ping Wang: